Print | Back to e-WV The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Canaan Valley State Park


Blackwater_river_canaan_valley_resort_state_park_medium

Canaan Valley State Park, located in Tucker County, five miles south of Davis, is a major ski resort and one of West Virginia’s biggest state parks. In 1957, S. Maude Kaemmerling, a member of one of the early logging families in the area, willed 3,135 acres of remote Canaan (pronounced kuh-NANE) Valley to the state of West Virginia for recreational use. Through President John F. Kennedy’s Economic Development Administration, grant and loan funds became available to develop the proposed state park. An additional 2,879 acres of private land was acquired by the state, which brought the park to its present size of 6,014 acres. Canaan Valley State Park opened to the public in 1963.

Along with the typical cabins, lodges, campgrounds, hiking trails, swimming pools, and tennis courts, the Canaan plan also included skiing as a major source of outdoor recreation and revenue. In fact, the park became West Virginia’s first ski resort, sparking a new industry in the state. Skiing had been done at Canaan Valley as early as 1953, when the Washington Ski Club installed a rope tow on Cabin Mountain. The state park ski slopes were built on the 4,420 foot Weiss Knob, the first major ski development with snow-making equipment in West Virginia, and opened in December 1971. In the mid-1970s the state began leasing the huge facility to a private operator, though the state park system still provides certain services.

Written by Connie K. Colvin

Sources

  1. Allman, Ruth C. Canaan Valley and the Black Bear. Parsons: McClain, 1976.