The West Virginia Archives and History Library of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History will host its next after-hours lecture from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6. The session, titled “History of the West Virginia State Park System,” will be presented by Robert Beanblossom, district administrator in southern and eastern West Virginia for the state’s Division of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Section.
The presentation will concentrate on the development and history of the state’s park system as well as the broader, nationally based movement for preserving natural areas that began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The park system in West Virginia was created in 1925 with the acquisition of timberland in Pocahontas County. This property became Watoga State Park. Two years later, more property was recommended for purchase, and in 1928 Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park became the state’s first historical park. Today, the Mountain State’s park system consists of approximately 50 parks, forests, wildlife management areas and rail trails.
Beanblossom holds a bachelor’s degree in forest recreation. He has a lifelong interest in forests and conservation; as a youth in 1971, he was one of 15 winners nationwide of a National Conservation Award sponsored by the Isaac Walton League of America. After working part time as a forest fire tower observer in college, Beanblossom became a forest ranger in his native Mingo County. He spent nine years as a park superintendent at Panther State Forest and Watters Smith Memorial State Park before becoming district administrator in 1989. He has written articles about the park system for Goldenseal and Wonderful West Virginia and is the editor of the third edition of Histories of the Southeastern State Park Systems, published in 2011.
The lecture will take place in the archives library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. All sessions are free and the public is invited to attend. The library will close at 5 p.m. and reopen at 5:45 p.m., for participants only.
Advance registration for the workshop is not required, but is encouraged. To register in advance, contact Bob Taylor, archives library manager, at (304) 558-0230, ext. 163, or by e-mail at Bobby.L.Taylor@wv.gov. Participants interested in registering by e-mail should send their name, telephone number and the name and date of the session. For additional information about the workshop, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.
The Archives and History Library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday. The library is closed on Sunday.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.