tourism

On this West Virginia Morning, a group of residents in Letcher County, Kentucky confront a judge over a Facebook post in which he downplayed racism and accused protesters of heightening tensions. Also, in this show, we hear how religious leaders in West Virginia are responding to the coronavirus pandemic at their places of worship. We also visit some towns in the state to hear how the pandemic’s economic impact is affecting local tourism.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

 


On a recent sunny weekday, Bill Currey proudly walks among 30 neatly stacked, brightly colored plastic kayaks. Birds chirp merrily, and the soothing sounds of the meandering Coal River permeate the background — nature’s version of a white noise machine. 

 

For the tanned Currey, who also owns an industrial real estate company, being here, on the river, is as good as it gets. His goal is to share this slice of paradise with as many people as will listen. 

New River Gorge Bridge
Chad Matlick / WVPB

A new report shows that tourism in southern West Virginia’s national parks injected more than $70 million into the local economies in 2019, which was before the coronavirus pandemic impacted the business in the state. 


Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This time of year, the Hatfield McCoy trail system in southern West Virginia usually is buzzing with ATVs. In fact, Jeffrey Lusk, director of the Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, said he makes almost half of his permit sales for the year from March 1 to April 30. 

But for towns and local businesses along the trail system, things are pretty quiet these days. The Hatfield McCoy trails have been closed since March 20, by an executive order from Governor Jim Justice to enforce social distancing and public health recommendations from the federal government. 


On this West Virginia Morning, we continue our focus on small business issues with a look at long term impacts the coronavirus crisis may have on communities in southern West Virginia that rely on tourism. Also, in today’s show, we hear how churchgoers in West Virginia are staying connected through the pandemic, and we hear a review on a new book titled “The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia” by Emma Copley Eisenberg.

Host Suzanne Higgins is joined by Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews and Steven Allen Adams of Ogden Newspapers for a reporter roundtable featuring an update on both the Senate and House proposed state budgets.

The House of Delegates passed a bill known as the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It calls on doctors to use "reasonable medical judgement" in the event of an unsuccessful abortion, and it passed with bi-partisan support.

One of the photos featured in WVU’s traveling exhibit, Appalachian Futures, featuring Nick Bowman’s study on Fallout 76. The screenshot shows two players playing a banjo and a steel guitar in the video game.
Bethesda Game Studios


Updated on Jan. 10, 2020 to include an extended version of the interview. Scroll below.

It’s been more than a year since the video game Fallout 76 was released. The game — one in a popular series created by Maryland-based Bethesda Game Studios — takes place entirely in a post-apocalyptic West Virginia. Players from around the world play together online to reclaim the land. 

New research finds the game may help forge new connections between those playing it and the Mountain State.

Gov. Justice's Chief of Staff Mike Hall announces the agreement with Maryland to continue the MARC train service in W.Va. at a press conference in Martinsburg on Dec. 19, 2019.
W.Va. Governor's Office

 

Gov. Jim Justice has agreed to provide the remaining funding Maryland officials requested to keep the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) in the Eastern Panhandle at its current service. The governor is also hopeful to expand the service to promote tourism in the region.

Capitol, West Virginia State Capitol
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates voted during a brief special session on Monday to extend an application deadline for a tourism development tax credit. 

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Little creatures are popping up on the streets of downtown Fayetteville, W.Va. People might find them hiding in trees, behind bushes, on benches or even inside local shops.

“Cause at this point, we’re like a gnome explosion,” said Tabitha Stover, Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director.


Chuck Roberts/ WVPB

By branding southern West Virginia “Hatfield & McCoy” country, are we re-affirming negative stereotypes in Appalachia?

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll look at how some communities in southern West Virginia are hoping to jumpstart their local economies through tourism. In particular, we’ll explore a type of tourism that caters to ATV riders along the Hatfield and McCoy trail system.

But what do we gain, and what do we lose, when we market ourselves to visitors? Are people able to remain true to their real identity, and claim ownership of their own narrative? We'll discuss that and more in this week's episode.


Emily Allen / WVPB

When in the late 1990’s a group of recreational-vehicle enthusiasts began developing a network of riding trails in Southern West Virginia, it didn’t take them long to pick a title that would immediately garner name recognition for the region.


www.nps.gov / National Park Service

A National Park Service report released Sunday, details the economic benefits to Southern West Virginia last year. According to the report, tourism to the region’s national parks helped spur the economy by almost $70 million.

Caitlin Tan

This week on Inside Appalachia, we take off-the-beaten-path tour of some of the region’s alternative cultures and economies. We’ll visit a factory where workers are reviving the art of glassmaking. We’ll hear how farmers and chefs are returning to some of our old-fashioned recipes for inspiration and attempting to reshape our region’s economy in the process.


An inflammatory poster displayed outside of the House of Delegates’ chamber by participants of West Virginia GOP Day at the Capitol, launched a firestorm of remarks Friday morning. Just as the Speaker of the House called the body to order, Del. Mike Pushkin stood and launched what would be a series of remarks - Democrats condemning hate speech, while Republicans defending freedom of speech.

W.Va. Tourism event at the West Virginia Capitol on Nov. 14, 2018 celebrating the launch of Fallout 76.
Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Tourism Day was recognized by the West Virginia Legislature this week. In light of that, we bring you a report on a video game that tourism officials believe makes a positive impact in bringing visitors to West Virginia. By now, you may have heard of Fallout 76 - the latest in the popular line of Fallout video games. It was released last fall with much fanfare by Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Division of Tourism. West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with a local gamer, and we bring you this special look inside the video game.

It was the second day of a statewide teacher and service personnel walkout over a comprehensive education reform bill. We bring you up-to-date on the latest action, and we also bring you special reports on black lung-related legislation, economic development, and tourism.

The "Fallout Boy" stands in front of the West Virginia Capitol.
WV Tourism

Bethesda Game Studios' "Fallout 76" video game hit store shelves this week. West Virginia Tourism officials are hoping to promote the state to a wider audience with the game’s launch.

Lodge in Cacapon Resort State Park, Morgan County, W.Va., May 2008
Brian M. Powell / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Jim Justice’s office made two announcements Friday all related to infrastructure in the Eastern Panhandle.

WV Governor's Office

The award-winning video game publisher Bethesda Softworks is launching a new online game set in post-nuclear West Virginia, and the West Virginia Tourism Office is partnering with the company to promote both the game and the state.

Steve Shaluta / West Virginia Division of Tourism

West Virginia officials say hotel occupancy has climbed from last year.

Gov. Jim Justice and other officials announced last week that statewide hotel occupancy grew around 16 percent in June from the same month in 2017. Officials say the growth produced a 20 percent revenue increase from a year earlier.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, tourism is one of West Virginia’s largest industries, bringing in an estimated $4.5 billion in revenue and providing tens of thousands of jobs. Something that’s not so much of a challenge or concern for this industry is housing for the people who work in tourism.  Generally speaking, in West Virginia there’s ample affordable housing that is located near the state’s resorts and tourist destinations. But this isn’t the case in other parts of the country.

courtesy of Erin Board

An organizer says the U.S. Rafting Association's national whitewater championships will be held this fall on the New and Gauley rivers in West Virginia.

The Happy Retreat mansion in Charles Town, W.Va. Formerly the home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and brother to President George Washington.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Happy Retreat is a historic mansion in Charles Town that was once the home of Charles Washington – founder of Charles Town and brother to the nation’s first president. Today, the house is becoming a hub for public events, community outreach, history and tourism.

ATV
aiisha / Dollar Photo Club

Plans are underway for a new multi-cottage resort in West Virginia that a developer says will cater to the needs of ATV riders.

Developer Todd Boggess tells The Bluefield Daily Telegraph that the ATV Outpost at Pocohontas is envisioned as a family friendly facility with 22 cabins, a restaurant, general store and more.

Elk, Standing Elk
Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons

Officials in West Virginia are set to introduce 50 elk that were captured in Arizona.

Gov. Jim Justice and the state Division of Natural Resources are scheduled to hold a ceremony Tuesday at the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area near Logan.

A Covered Bridge Christmas

Nov 30, 2017
James Owston/ Alderson Broaddus University

Across West Virginia, many towns and cities will host Christmas parades and other holiday festivals in December. But only one town can claim to have a historic covered bridge in the backdrop of their festivities. Philippi is hoping to brand itself as a Christmas destination, with a historic twist. 

John Denver
RCA / AP Images

A song beloved by West Virginians will now represent the state across the country. The West Virginia Tourism Office is hoping the song will help promote the state.

The West Virginia Tourism Office says it has obtained rights to use the song "Take Me Home, Country Roads" in marketing and will begin this week.

Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, W.Va. played a pivitol role during the American Civil War.
Mark Frickett / Wikimedia Commons

The small town of Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle is often referred to as a gateway into West Virginia. It was a prominent place during the American Civil War, and it was the site of John Brown’s Raid.

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