West Virginia’s beautiful mountain areas afford fine recreational opportunities. Favorite sports include fishing and hunting. The state also has winter sports areas for skiing, tobogganing, and ice skating. Mineral springs, principally those at White Sulphur Springs and Berkeley Springs, have attracted visitors since colonial times.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has been the backdrop to several themes of American history (see Harpers Ferry). The city developed as an important transportation crossroads, and it was here in 1859 that abolitionist John Brown led a raid on a national armory and arsenal in the hopes of securing weapons for slaves he was certain would then rise in rebellion. Set amidst striking scenery, many of the buildings in the town are part of the national park. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park preserves another transportation facility important during the country’s early development.
In addition to many of the canal’s original structures, the old towpath provides a nearly level trail through spectacular scenery along the Potomac River on West Virginia’s border with Maryland.
Several stretches of West Virginia’s rivers have been set aside for recreation or to preserve their beauty. Under supervision of the National Park Service are the Gauley River National Recreation Area, the New River Gorge National River, and the Bluestone National Scenic River.
The federal government administers national forests in West Virginia that have facilities for outdoor recreation. Monongahela National Forest includes Spruce Knob. George Washington National Forest, which is shared with Virginia, includes part of the Appalachian Trail.
A small part of Jefferson National Forest, most of which is also in Virginia, is located in Monroe County. Most of the state forests also have facilities for outdoor activities. The largest, Cooper’s Rock State Forest, covers a large expanse on Cheat Mountain. Kumbrabow State Forest in east central West Virginia features a skyline drive over Point Mountain. "West Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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