Excuse for An Excursion: Hawks Nest State Park

By Alex, PAWV VISTA

Hawks Nest State Park is located on 370 acres in Fayette County near Ansted, West Virginia. Hawks Nest State Park has welcomed visitors since the mid-1930s. The park first opened in 1935 as a roadside park when the state purchased 51 acres. The planning was done by the National Park Service.

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Hawks Nest Picnic Shelter

The original building, now a gift shop and museum, was built as a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) project in which Eleanor Roosevelt was a driving force to build State Parks in WV and other areas. CCC Camp Lee (1935-1942) men built the concession building, public toilet building, and other facilities at Hawks Nest. CCC Camp Beaver (1937-38) men built the picnic shelter and museum building. These structures are unique and a great place to rest and picnic. Hawks Nest Lake was built in 1967.

The hydro-electric project tunnel that passes underneath nearby Gauley Mountain was the scene of the tragic Depression-era Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster. It was a large-scale incident of occupational silicosis as the result of the construction of the Hawks Nest Tunnel near Gauley Bridge, as part of a hydroelectric project. This project is considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in American history.

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Hawks Nest State Park is nested in whitewater country. The New River was designated an American Heritage River on July 30, 1998. There are currently fourteen American Heritage Rivers in the country. With great views, some good trails, and plenty of wildlife, Hawks Nest is a good destination to visit in West Virginia in all seasons.

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View from Hawks Nest Overlook

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