Douthat State Park, which opened June 15, 1936, as one of Virginia’s original six state parks, is now home to the newest state park campgrounds, opening April 1. Douthat is in the mountainous Bath and Alleghany counties along the western border of the state.
Two construction and renovation projects, totaling $2.43 million, converted the Beaver Dam Campground into an equestrian camping area and built the new 23-site Whispering Pines Campground, the Rockbridge Weekly reported. Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Whispering Pines Campground offers 23 sites, including a universally accessible handicap site, dump stations, water and electric hookups, RV sites up to 50 feet and a bathhouse with showers.
The Beaver Dam Equestrian Campground features 14 campsites and 14 horse stalls, as well as a bathhouse. Renovations to the campground allow for larger trailers.
“Equestrian camping is extremely important to a growing number of our visitors,” said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. “With the development of bridle trails through the national forest, the proximity to the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington and private riding trails at the Homestead in Bath County, equestrian camping facilities are in great demand. We’re delighted to provide this new campground to this important group of visitors.”
The 52 acres of land at Whispering Pines was acquired in 2007 for $546,370. Funding for the acquisition and construction came from the $119 million Virginia Parks and Natural Areas General Obligation Bond, approved in 2002 by 69 percent of voters.
“Virginia voters overwhelmingly supported general obligation bonds to help finance land conservation and construction projects,” said DCR Director David A. Johnson. “I know our staff put a lot of effort into these projects, and I’m pleased to see this work completed. I’m glad our many park visitors will now have the opportunity to enjoy these facilities this year and for decades to come.”
The contractor that completed the work was Thor Inc. Construction of Roanoke.
Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, Douthat State Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and was named one of the nation’s 10 best by the Outside Family Vacation Guide. The park features outstanding scenery as well as a 50-acre lake offering swimming, boating and seasonal trout fishing.