Gov. Justice celebrates completion of over $8 million in upgrades at Pipestem Resort State Park


PIPESTEM, WV – Gov. Jim Justice today joined West Virginia Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Brett McMillion, West Virginia State Parks leaders and other local officials at Pipestem Resort State Park for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of over $8 million in upgrades at the park. 

“The renovations at Pipestem are incredible. I congratulate everyone who played a part in making all of these improvements possible,” Gov. Justice said.

“Just look at this place right here. I don’t care where you go in this country, it doesn’t get any better than right here where we’re at right now,” Gov. Justice continued. “We've always known how good we are. But the outside world didn’t buy it. Someway, somehow, we had to change our image in West Virginia. Through projects like this, it’s working.”

Upgrades at Pipestem include nearly $4.4 million in renovations to the park’s two lodges, cabin upgrades, and more than $3.6 million in infrastructure improvements to the park’s tram, wastewater treatment plant, and campground waterline.
In addition to the completed improvements celebrated on Wednesday, Gov. Justice highlighted other major upgrades at Pipestem Resort over the last four years. Since Gov. Justice took office, Pipestem Resort has also added a zipline, splash park and adventure lake, and an adventure zone, solidifying the park as one of the state’s best family travel destinations.

“Pipestem Resort has always been one of West Virginia’s most popular state parks and these upgrades we’re celebrating today and all of the incredible additions we’ve seen happen since Governor Justice took office have made Pipestem a place people all over the world want to visit,” Secretary Ruby said. “On behalf of our state’s tourism industry, I just want to thank Governor Justice for everything he’s done for our beautiful state and the state parks system.”
Pipestem is the latest state park to reopen facilities after major renovations.

In recent months, Gov. Justice has hosted similar ribbon-cutting ceremonies at North Bend, Hawks Nest, Blackwater Falls, and Canaan Valley state parks to celebrate more than $24 million in improvements.
These upgrades represent a small portion of $151 million in improvement projects that have been completed or started at every state park and forest in West Virginia since Gov. Justice took office.

“As a former superintendent here at Pipestem and as someone who has spent their entire career working outdoors in West Virginia, I can’t begin to tell you how incredible it is to look at all of the things we’ve been able to accomplish under Governor Justice’s leadership,” Director McMillion said. “If it weren’t for his support, we wouldn’t be here today and we wouldn’t be in such a favorable position when it comes to increased tourism and economic growth.”
On average, about 7 million people visit West Virginia’s state parks and forests each year, but park visitation surpassed 9 million in 2021, the highest number on record in state history. In addition to increased visitation, annual revenue at state parks has grown by 52% over the last four years and summer reservations for 2022 are 31% higher than the summer before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The completion of these upgrades and all of the improvements at all our parks and forests couldn’t have come at a better time,” Secretary Ruby said. “As more and more people are making travel plans, the world is taking notice of West Virginia. Not only are we seeing an increase in tourism, but nearly every major tourism magazine has said West Virginia is one of the best places to visit in 2022.”

“In my opinion, we’ve always been the best of the best. We’re in the right spot with all the right stuff, all the right people, all the right seasons, and everything else under the sun,” Gov. Justice added. “All we had to do was tell our story to the outside world. That’s exactly what we’ve done and the results have been off the charts.”
Located on the east rim of the Bluestone River Gorge on the border of Summers and Mercer counties, Pipestem Resort State Park has been West Virginia’s premier family adventure resort since Memorial Day 1970, when it opened to the public. The park features stunning views, offers exhilarating zipline tours, guided trout fishing trips, mountain bike excursions, a championship golf course, 82 campsites, 26 cabins, and two lodges, one of which can only be accessed by riding the park’s aerial tram to the bottom of the Bluestone River Gorge.

To learn more about West Virginia’s state parks or to book a trip, visit
Gov. Justice’s vision for WV Tourism paying dividends
Since taking office in 2017, Gov. Jim Justice has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the state’s tourism efforts. These investments have changed West Virginia’s image in major, unprecedented ways, and we are now reaping the rewards of promoting our state to the world for the first time ever.

Prior to Gov. Justice taking office, the state had seen four consecutive years of decline in traveler spending. Upon taking office, Gov. Justice immediately appointed Chelsea Ruby as Tourism Commissioner. The state’s tourism marketing budget was then tripled and the research-based “Almost Heaven” campaign was launched in early 2018. Since then, the state has seen incredible gains across the board. In the three years following the campaign’s launch, annual traveler spending in the state grew by more than $611 million, reversing the historic decline seen in the previous four years.

​​People are more excited than ever to be in West Virginia. From April 2010 to July 2019, more than 43,000 people moved out of the state. However, from 2020 through 2021, net migration is up in West Virginia for the first time in decades, with over 2,000 people moving into our state, making West Virginia one of the top states in the entire nation that people are moving into on a percentage basis. A recent study found that West Virginia was tied with South Carolina for the top inbound states in 2021. In fact, 2021 was the first year West Virginia even made the list.

A combined $151 million-worth of improvement projects have either been completed or started at every state park and forest in West Virginia since Gov. Justice took office. In the past four years, state parks annual revenue has grown by 52%. The Governor also recently announced that the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System sold nearly 95,000 trail permits in 2021, which represents the highest number of annual permits ever sold in a single year and the system’s 21st consecutive year of growth in ridership.

With Gov. Justice leading the way, increased investments in the state’s tourism efforts have visitation and intrigue in West Virginia through the roof. Earlier this year, West Virginia was named a top-10 travel region in the world to visit by Lonely Planet; the only state to earn this prestigious distinction. The state was also tapped as a top destination for 2022 by Condé Nast Traveler, Frommers, USA Today and the Huffington Post, in addition to being dubbed one of the World’s Greatest Places by TIME. The state was the only destination to make all of these coveted lists. Most recently, West Virginia was named as one of CBS’s top destinations for family vacations in 2022.

Contact Information

Jordan Damron,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:

Flag Status

American Flag Full Staff
State Flag Full Staff

Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Site Map