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“Allow Nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” – John Muir

photo of light in trees


We regularly perform not-so-random acts of kindness directed at helping the people and places that we love.  People who have seen Watoga State Park in West Virginia come back to it time and again.

Rhododendron bloom on Park Rd
Rhododendron bloom on Park Rd

They come for the trails and the big trees. They come for the fish in the lake and the mountain air. When hikers flick fallen branches off a trail or choose to leave only footprints they are part of a large network of volunteers who love and support Watoga State Park. Little things count.

Donate here!  Become a Friend of Watoga

Here are things you can do to help Watoga

Enjoy the park! Simply by using it, Watoga’s guests help show the value of public lands and waters preserved for everyone.

Fish! The lake is stocked with trout. Volunteer to help at a fishing derby.

Ride a bike, hike a trail, paddle a canoe! Or learn inside stories of history and happening via the Watoga Blog. You can also learn about trail work opportunities with others in all seasons of the year.Monongasenka overlook south towards Droop Mountain in distance

Learn about Wild Edibles or Art in the Park. (Also, volunteer to help put on those events.)

Spread the word! Bring friends and families to Watoga, then share your memories.

Run as well as hike – there are trail races each August. A half marathon is a grand way to see 13 miles of woodland trails. (Some effort is involved.) The 5K trail race is a joy.

Learn fascinating facts! The park puts on hundreds of nature programs each year, most with neat activities for children. Learn woodsy skills. Dutch oven cookery is especially popular.

Travel in time. Watoga’s history remains visible today. Stay in a cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps 80 years ago, hike a ridge trail as old as the hills, see trees over 300 years old.

See new things! (Wildflowers spring to mind. Also fawns and bear cubs.) Nature is self-renewing. So are we.

Meet more Watoga volunteers through the Watoga State Park Foundation, a (501c3) nonprofit. Doing good can be lots of fun. There’s strength in numbers.


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Watoga Trails Blog

Watoga State Park Prepares To Go Dark

Reprinted with permission from Highland Outdoors magazine (www.highland-outdoors.com), Fall 2021 edition, p. 9. Stargazers, rejoice! Watoga State Park is on its way to becoming an officially recognized Dark Sky Park. Watoga has long been known as one of the darkest and most light-pollution-free areas in Central Appalachia, providing spectacular views of clear night skies. At …

Watoga Dark Sky Project

The Watoga Astronomy Forecast site

The Watoga Foundation is applying for Dark Sky Park designation from the “International Dark Sky Association” (IDA) as part of the Watoga Dark Sky Project. Light at night can be problematic for wildlife, insects, and even human health. The IDA created the Dark Sky Places Program in 2001. IDA encourages communities worldwide to adapt responsible lighting policies.

Watoga State Park, at 10,000 acre, harbors diverse ecosystems . Watoga is bordered in part by the Monongahela National Forest and Calvin Price State Forest. It is already blessed by natural darkness due to its remote location.

There are 60 communities, parks, reserves, sanctuaries and planned developments that have met the program’s rigorous standards. As a result, these places have fulfilled the application status to achieve official Dark Sky Places status. The Watoga State Park Foundation is currently working to join IDA. This would make Watoga the first Dark Sky State Park in West Virginia. Watoga Foundation will provide education programs, postings and star parties to help bring awareness of the benefits of keeping our skies dark at night as part to the Watoga Dark Sky Project.

Milky Way over Watoga State Park on a clear night

Please follow the dark sky facebook page for information, education programs and star party dates