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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 09, 2011
Westmoreland State Park reopens after storm damage
MONTROSS - Westmoreland State Park, on the banks of the Potomac River in Westmoreland County, reopens its gates to the public, Friday, Nov. 18. The park has been closed because of damages suffered during the remnants of Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27 and torrential rainfall two weeks later from Tropical Storm Lee.
The park lost more than 1,000 trees because of the storms. Trees, winds and more than 20 inches of rain caused structural damage to many of the park's 26 cabins, campgrounds, trails, docks and other structures. All facilities have been refurbished and reopened except four cabins, a picnic shelter and two trails. The campgrounds, which would close for the winter Dec. 1, will remain closed.
"This has been a trying time for the park, the staff and for our visitors," said Ken Benson, Westmoreland State Park manager. "The dedication of our staff and the outpouring of support from the community have been unbelievable."
All day-use areas and facilities will be open. The park will also offer its full winter inventory of cabins.
Visitors to the park will still see damage resulting from the storms. Guests are cautioned to stay on trails and in designated open areas. Clean-up work continues in the park, but staff and contractors will be marking all work areas and keeping visitors posted as areas close. The park will open those cabins that are farthest from construction sites.
"Ken and his staff have done an outstanding job in getting Westmoreland ready for visitors to return," said Joe Elton, state parks director with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. "Visitors may notice some scars, but they will also be able to enjoy all the amenities that Westmoreland has offered for generations. Some actually are better than ever."
Westmoreland State Park is one of Virginia's six original state parks opened in 1936 and celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It is also the most heavily damaged and last to open of four Virginia State Parks originally closed because of storm damages.
For information on all of Virginia's 35 award-winning state parks, call toll-free, 800-933-7275 (PARK) or go to www.virginiastateparks.gov.
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