State eyes new road in Logan park
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Some Logan County residents hope the state Division of Highways will pass on a plan to build a road through Chief Logan State Park.
State officials are looking at a plan to build a road that would connect the lodge and conference center in the new section of the park to the original section, DOH spokesman Brent Walker said.
The proposed road would make it easier for those staying at the lodge to access the original 3,303-acre park a few miles to the east, he said.
"We don't have vehicular access from the lodge into the park except by existing roadways," Walker said. "One of the roads into the park is about 10 miles away from the lodge, and the other is about 16 miles away."
However, some Logan County residents believe the new road would become a shortcut between Corridor G and W.Va. 10, two of the most traveled roads in the county.
The number of vehicles traveling through the park would increase significantly if the road were constructed, Donald McCloud said.
McCloud, 60, lives near the park in the Pecks Mill area of Logan County. He walks in the park "a few days a week," he said.
"I really do think this new road would be dangerous," McCloud said. "There are a lot of people that walk along the roads, and people have activities near the roads in the park, too."
DOH officials are exploring various options. The preferred option is to construct a road about 1.5 miles long from the recreation center through Crawley Gap to an existing road near the swimming pool.
This option would cost about $10 million, Walker said.
McCloud thinks that's a lot to spend on a road through a state park.
"I question whether this is really needed," he said. "That seems like an awful lot of taxpayer money."
McCloud has lived in the community for his entire life. Every other resident he has spoken to is also opposed to the project, he said.
Betty Elkins, 57, has lived across from the entrance to Chief Logan State Park for 33 years.
Her two sons, who are now grown, would play and ride bikes in the park, she said. Elkins walks 5 miles a day there, she said.
"They'll just ruin the park," Elkins said. "It just won't be peaceful up there anymore.
"It's so quiet there," she said. "It's a place where I can go to get away from the telephones and TVs."
Elkins thinks the road would make it less safe for walkers and bicyclists. She said many youngsters ride bikes along some of the back roads that would be connected by the new road.
Walkers also would face an increase in traffic, she said.
She, too, believes the road will serve as a shortcut for drivers traveling between Corridor G and W.Va. 10.
Although Paul Redford, district administrator for Chief Logan State Park, believes some drivers will use the road as a shortcut, its primary use will be to connect guests at the lodge to the amenities in the old park.
A likely speed limit of 25 mph would discourage people from using it as a shortcut, he said, and the road would be gated at night.
It takes Redford about 20 minutes to make it from the lodge to the older section of the park, which was purchased in 1960. He was unsure how long it would take to drive between the two locations once a new road is constructed.
The DOH is conducting an environmental impact study on the proposed project, Walker said. There are five alternatives ranging in cost from $9.4 million to $18.4 million.
The money would come from the DOH's general revenue fund, he said.
The project is in the early planning stages, and Walker was unsure when it would start if approved.
A series of public informational hearings will be in Logan County to discuss the project before it begins, he said. They could begin as early as February.
A public comment period concerning the project ended in August, Walker said. Numerous people sent letters in support and in opposition of the project although he could provide no numbers.
McCloud and a few other people purchased an advertisement in the Logan Banner describing the plan's downsides. McCloud declined to comment on how much the advertisement cost or how many people contributed to its purchase.