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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia-managed state parks, forests and trails saw record-breaking visitation from in-state guests, Gov. Jim Justice announced last week.

The parks saw a 227% increase in online reservations compared to June 2019, thanks to the use of thousands of WVSTRONG promo code redemptions. The promotion offers a 30% discount on all state park lodging for West Virginia residents.

“I’m thrilled to see so many folks taking advantage of our WVSTRONG promotion and social distancing outside at our wonderful state parks this summer,” Justice said.

Andy Malinoski, press secretary for the West Virginia Department of Commerce, said this June, West Virginians made 5,897 online reservations for stays in campsites, cabins and lodge rooms at West Virginia state parks. The vast majority of those reservations were from folks using the WVSTRONG discount code for stays from June 1 through Aug. 31, he said.

“All of our parks are seeing increases,” Malinoski said. “The increase has been fairly widespread, but campgrounds and cabins have been especially popular this year.”

State Parks Chief Brad Reed said the promotion offers local residents opportunities to explore what’s available in their backyards when planning a vacation close to home.

“We want our residents to know that we appreciate their diligence and commitment to safe-travel practices and that you don’t have to travel far away to enjoy a nice vacation,” Reed said.

“More people stayed close to home this summer but were still able to safely and responsibly enjoy a getaway at our parks and forests,” said Steve McDaniel, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “It is great to see folks enjoying our parks and forests and the tremendous work that has gone into them in the past few years.”

The discount offer applies to lodge rooms, cabins and campsite reservations for any West Virginia resident through Aug. 31 who make a reservation online at wvstateparks.com or over the phone by calling 833-WVPARKS.

Guests who claim the discount will be asked to verify West Virginia residency with a state-issued ID at check-in, and veterans and senior citizens can combine the discount with their existing discounts by using code WVSENIORS or WVVETERAN at checkout.

Guests are advised to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others and to wear masks indoors where social distancing is not possible. Park and forest staffs continue to follow all COVID-19 guidelines issued by state and federal officials, which include social distancing, the use of personal protective equipment and more stringent cleaning.

For updates on availability and service changes due to COVID-19, visit wvstateparks.com/travel-alert.

West Virginia’s state parks and forests host more than 7 million visitors annually in 35 parks and nine forests and on two rail-trails. West Virginia State Parks is managed by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, a division of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

“Our parks are on the move, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of this resident discount before the end of the season,” Justice added.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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