CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It's been a rough year for West Virginia's state parks system.
Last June, a system of severe windstorms termed a derecho wreaked havoc on much of the state, causing damage to many of the 36 state parks. Just as cleanup efforts from the derecho were winding down, along came Sandy.
Kenneth Caplanger, chief of the Division of Natural Resources, said the derecho caused $1.3 million in direct and indirect losses, but business was beginning to show signs of recovery at the beginning of the fall.
"We took a very large revenue hit, but business was just starting to pick up and get back to normal when Superstorm Sandy came through," he said.
When Sandy hit last October, it caused damage to six state parks and one wildlife management area.
Much of the debris, fallen trees and property damage have been repaired or removed in the following months, but one park remains closed and others still bear signs of the storms.
Brad Reed, district administrator for the parks system, said most of the damage from Sandy at Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley, Holly River, Hawks Nest, Kumbrabow State Parks and Plum Orchard Wildlife Management Area has been repaired.
Only Cathedral State Park remains closed.
"All of our areas, other than Cathedral, are now open for business and back to normal," Reed said.
Hoy Murphy, public information officer for the DNR, estimated damage from Sandy cost the parks system more than $200,000.
Reed said cleanup costs from both storms, which so far have totaled well over $1 million, have been handled by a combination of in-house and contracted workers.
Thanks to reimbursements from the state Board of Risk and Insurance Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Murphy said the parks system has "largely been made whole for the majority of expenditures."
The boardwalk at Blackwater Falls, which has been closed to the public because of tree damage, has been repaired and reopened.
"We have some very dedicated employees who have gone beyond work expectations in getting it repaired and reopened," Robert Gilligan, Blackwater Falls State Park superintendent, said in a press release.