National Park Status Proposed for Oregon, West Virginia State Parks
In what surely is an uncanny coincidence, there are proposals to turn state parks in Oregon and West Virginia that are built around waterfalls into national parks.
Silver Falls State Park can be found about a half-hour drive outside of Salem in the foothills of the Cascade Range. The change in designation from state park to national park is being championed by Oregon state Representative Fred Girod, who touts the economic benefits a change in status would bring Oregon.
According to a story in the Corvallis Gazette-Times, the National Park Service evaluated Silver Falls State Park in 1925 and again in 1935 for national park status, but turned it down each time because the area was heavily logged. However, Representative Girod points out that the forests have regrown and are thick once again.
Back East in West Virginia, talk of seeking national park status for Blackwater Falls State Park comes as the state is working to buy 130 acres of land along the Blackwater River Canyon from a timber company. Two state senators, Randy White and Jon Blair Hunter, are sponsoring a resolution in the West Virginia Legislature asking Congress to consider designating the area a national park. As with Oregon Rep. Girod, the two West Virginia lawmakers are touting the economic benefits national-park status would bring their state.
During the eight years I spent in West Virginia going to college and starting work I visited Blackwater Falls a number of times. It is indeed a spectacularly beautiful place in Allegheny Mountains.
The question in both these cases, though, is whether the exposure national park status would shine on them would benefit, or overexpose, the state parks.