Babcock State Park in Fayette County offers visitors an opportunity to explore an expansive second-growth forest bisected by mountain streams and sprawling colonies of rhododendron. The rich forest cover and deep canyons of Glade Creek and Manns Creek provide food and shelter for wildlife, including bobcat, raccoon, red and gray squirrels, deer mice, moles, shrews, weasels, red fox, deer, and wild turkey. Hundreds of species of wildflowers grow throughout the park, and well over a hundred species of birds reside there during the breeding season.
Babcock, one of the earliest state parks, covers 4,127 acres. It was opened on July 1, 1937, and built as a public works program during the Great Depression. The main facilities and trails were constructed between 1934 and 1937 by young workers employed through the Civilian Conservation Corps. The main park headquarters, 13 cabins, a horse stable, superintendent’s house, a natural swimming pool, and picnic facilities were constructed from locally quarried stone and American chestnut trees killed by the chestnut blight. The door latches and other metal work were hand-forged on site by CCC workers. The landscape had been completely denuded of vegetation by disastrous fires that followed logging of the site. By the mid-1950s, the hillsides were again green, and the streams supported populations of native trout.
Several additional facilities were added beginning in the 1960s, including a 40-site campground, the 18-acre Boley Lake, and 13 more cabins. A modern in-ground pool was built in the 1970s because the water quality in Glade Creek had been degraded by acid mine drainage from strip mines. The famous Glade Creek gristmill was completed in 1976 from parts of two older mills in other parts of West Virginia.
This Article was written by Emily Grafton
Last Revised on October 11, 2010