WV DNR News Release
5

L E G E N D
1 - General News
2 - Hunting News
3 - Fishing News
4 - Law Enforcement News
5 - Parks News


Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release: June 8, 2011

 Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 957-9365 hoy.r.murphy@wv.gov

Contact:

Scott Durham, Superintendent, Twin Falls State Park, 304-294-4000; scott.a.durham@wv.gov
Ken Caplinger, Chief, WV State Parks, 304-558-2762 dnr.parks@wv.gov


Grand Opening and Dedication of Twin Falls Lodge June 15
Three decades and worth the wait

            MULLENS, W.Va. –June 15 is the date for the official grand opening and dedication of the $7 million Twin Falls Lodge renovation and expansion. “It has been about 30 years in the making and I think most folks will agree, worth the wait.  It is a beautiful lodge complex,” said Scott Durham, park superintendent.  “A lot of people have been involved to make this capital improvement a reality. June 15 will be a celebration!”

            Improvements include expansion of the lodge from 20 to 47 rooms, a swimming pool for guests, upgraded furniture and decorations, five reconfigured conference rooms, elevator access, and many other modern amenities that appeal to tourists and business guests.  

            The dedication is set for 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 15, at Twin Falls State Park near Mullens and is open to the public. Congratulatory remarks will be made during the ceremony followed by a ribbon cutting. 

            “Tours of the facility and refreshments will highlight activities,” said Ken Caplinger, Chief of West Virginia’s state parks. “The opportunity to visit with the park staff and seeing the obvious pride in a job well done will make this special day in Wyoming County as well as our park system.” 

            Caplinger will be joined by Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro, area legislators and special guests. Caplinger encourages anyone to attend and be part of the celebration.

About the Twin Falls Lodge Expansion

            Expansion of the 42-year old lodge began in July 2008. Swope Construction, based in Bluefield, W.Va., was awarded the capital improvement project via state purchasing procedures. The expansion cost was less than $7.5 million and funded via Economic Development Fund and other funding sources. The project included moving infrastructure, reconfiguring land mass and parking areas, the building construction, furnishings, access and other design elements. The original park development funding from 1970 is recorded as being $4,423,000.

            The lodge expansion developed the original 20-room lodge into a 47-room destination hotel.  It includes a guest swimming pool (34’ x 15’), a fitness center for overnight guest use, guest laundry area, elevator access, upgraded furnishing and decoration.  The lodge lobby is transformed into an Adirondack-styled public area that blends seamlessly with the original Bauhaus design.  There are still five conference rooms at the lodge, but the space is reconfigured and with easier access for meetings and catering. 

            The 27-rooms added include two king suites with Jacuzzis. The rooms offer queen and king bedding.  The new rooms are located in the Cardinal wing of the completed lodge complex. The front desk staff is partial to the Monarch Wing Rooms due to the cozy feeling and great views offered.  Rooms in the Monarch wing of the lodge complex are the original rooms.  Both the Monarch and Cardinal wings have new furniture, soft goods, art, window treatment, and decoration. 

            The Cardinal and Monarch sections of the lodge reflect the West Virginia state bird and state butterfly.  The conference rooms are named for deciduous tree and shrub species found at Twin Falls: Azalea, Dogwood, Maple, Chinquapin, and Oak.  The Azalea Room has been renovated; the Dogwood Room is a new addition.

            The original loop road that approached the lodge entrance was removed entirely and replaced with a 100 space parking area that compliments the façade of the building.  The lodge exterior shades three memorials located at Twin Falls.  A miner’s statue recognizing individuals who have lost their lives while mining coal, two mill stones from Foley Mill that was in operation in the early 1900s on Marsh Fork, and a granite tribute to Morris “Smokey” Harsh, the first superintendent at Twin Falls State Park, and a visionary in the park developmental years.  Harsh is responsible for the salvation of the Bowers home place, today known as the Pioneer Farm. Scott Durham is only the second superintendent in the park’s history and provided vital commitment to needed development over the past 30 years.

            Brad Leslie, chief engineer with West Virginia’s state parks, and engineering staff oversaw the project completion in cooperation with Supt. Durham, Swope Construction, subcontractors, and countless workers, restaurant employees, and park staff.

About Twin Falls State Park

            Twin Falls State Park, 3776-acres, was developed by funding from the Area Redevelopment Act (ARA) in 1963. The land mass was a “gift of land” to the state of West Virginia by Western Pocahontas Corporation and the Pocahontas Land Corporation for  the  park development. The nine-hole golf course opened in the fall of 1967. The park opened to the public on June 26, 1970. Located in Wyoming County, Twin Falls was and continues to be a source of pride for area residents and a tourist and group destination.

            Twin Falls was conceived and developed as a total park and not piece-at-a-time as many recreational areas experience when being developed. The 20-room lodge was one of three state park lodges of that era where architectural form superseded function.  Other state park lodges designed by the Architects Collaborative and a Walter Gropius influence are Hawks Nest and Pipestem Resort state parks.  Twin Falls’ initial development phase included a 20-room lodge with restaurant, gift shop, and coffee shop, golf proshop and outdoor swimming pool, and 13-deluxe cabins. The campground and picnicking areas soon followed and were developed in the early 1970s.  A nine-hole golf course was opened in 1968 and expanded to an 18-hole championship course in 1984. The original course was a Geoffrey Cornish design, the additional nine holes were designed by noted golf course designer, George Cobb, Sr.

            “There is always change occurring at state parks” says Durham.  “The general public rarely is aware of most changes, but those are vital in park operations.”  Twin Falls has undergone infrastructure improvements over the years that include replacement of the waste water treatment plant, moving from water treatment and production to water supplied by the Ravencliff PSD and associated pipeline installment, expansion of conference and kitchen facilities in the mid-1980s, addition of an accessible cabin meeting ADA requirements, electrification of 25 camp sites, paving of golf cart paths, and general maintenance issues and updates that occur in facility upkeep. 

            “Switching from a paper based reservation system to a computer based reservation system, installing of wireless service at the lodge, getting cable television to the lodge and cottages are technology needs that also push us forward,” explained Durham.  “It isn’t the easiest topography to make major changes like water lines, buildings, and electrical updates.  But like all state parks, we work at keeping Twin Falls current, and still retain the hospitality and personality of the area – keeping it a cherished state park for the generations that will visit here.” 

            Durham adds that it is the park staff through the years that have met the challenge when improvements are made. “It is our staff that retains customer loyalty and satisfaction when change occurs.” The lodge did not close during construction phases. “You’ll find the employees at Twin Falls models for the tourism industry when it comes to guest service and hospitality.”

            For more information about Twin Falls State Park visit www.twinfallsresort.com or call Twin Falls State Park at 304-294-4000 for dedication details, park information or lodging reservation.

**DNR**