Delegates Thorne and Miller Opposed to Blue Water 350 RV Campground at Cacapon State Park

Delegates Darren Thorne (R-Hampshire) and George Miller (R-Morgan) and Senator Charles Trump (R-Morgan) attended a meeting Monday night of more than 85 citizens gathered at Cacapon State Park to oppose Blue Water’s proposal to put in a 350 spot RV campground near the upper lake.

Delegate George Miller (seated), Senator Charles Trump and Delegate Darren Thorne address citizens at Cacapon State Park upper lake April 3, 2023

All three legislators are up for re-election in 2024. 

Thorne and Miller said they agreed with the group that the Blue Water development was not appropriate for the park. 

Senator Trump, when asked whether he was with the group in opposition to the Blue Water proposal, was non-commital.

Senator Trump said that while he didn’t know whether 350 was the right number, “I don’t see RV camping being inconsistent with the mission of parks or this park.”

Thorne said he supported a competing proposal put forth by Scenic LLC to not build in Cacapon State Park but instead to work with the RV development that Scenic LLC is planning for Great Cacapon.

“He’s been working on this for two or three years now,” Thorne said. “Why don’t we use that? He’s got 400 acres. His land abuts the park land. He’s already there. From what I understand, his land abuts right up at the end of the park. We can bring in some trail systems to match the trail systems that are already here. We could have a shuttle from here to there. It wouldn’t hurt our park system at all. We could benefit from it.”

George Miller said he regretted supporting, before opposing, legislation that was passed late last year (HB 4408) that opened the door for the state to contract with private companies to build recreational facilities in state parks.

In December 2022, Commerce Secretary James Bailey told reporters that the state was about to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a “very large campground that will be, hopefully, built and constructed.” 

That RFP was for Cacapon State Park and opened the door to the Blue Water 350 RV spot proposal.

Citizens questioning Delegates Thorne
and Miller and Senator Trump

Miller said he supported the bill before he spoke with local community leaders like Tom Ambrose, Lin Dunham and Jim Michael.

By supporting the bill, “I screwed up,” Miller said.  

“But I did try to fix what I screwed up,” Miller said. “It came up a few minutes before midnight. And I tried to talk it down. I changed about five or six votes. But it would have passed anyway.  We have to deal with it now.”

What do you make of the Blue Water development? Miller was asked.

“I don’t like it,” Miller said. “It’s too much too soon.”

Miller guessed that the average age of the crowd at the upper lake was sixty. 

“As time changes, things change,” Miller said. “What we’re looking at to stop, someone younger than us may be looking to do.”

Lyn Knight, addressing the legislators, said that she had been doing some research and found that the average number of RV spots in West Virginia parks is twenty.

“Blue Water’s 350 RV spot proposal is monstrous,” Knight said. 

As to Miller’s comment about the average age of the crowd being sixty, Knight said – “don’t be fooled by the crowd around the lake.”

“I had to take off work today just to be here,” Knight said. “I will take off work on April 18 to attend the state’s hearing. My guess is that this demographic here is primarily retired individuals. That is who is here. But all kinds of people who are working hard come here to enjoy the peace and quiet, not the hum of RVs.”

Thorne said that “if Scenic LLC finishes their RV park in Great Cacapon, I don’t believe we should put an RV park here because I don’t believe the government should be in direct competition with private sector entrepreneurs.” 

“I don’t think we should touch our park at all,” Thorne said.

Dixie Mullineaux said she was at the Morgan County Commission meeting held to discuss the RV proposal. 

“There was a gentleman there who owns an RV and loves RVs,” Mullineaux. “And he said Cacapon State Park was absolutely not suited for RVs. The roads, the infrastructure are not suited to having RVs.”

“I don’t know if 350 is the right number and I don’t know if (near the upper lake) is the right spot,” Trump said.  “But I don’t see RV camping necessarily as being inconsistent with the mission of this park. 

Senator Trump address citizens
opposed to Blue Water proposal

“Why not put the RV park on private land outside the park, like the one in Great Cacapon,” one resident asked.

“I don’t presume to answer for what the Commerce Department or Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are thinking, but what I think they are thinking is that they have 7,000 acres here, so why not find a place to do it here at this park?” Trump said.

Glenn White said that this community does not want the RV development at Cacapon State Park. 

“I would like to know from our elected officials – are you with us in opposition to the RV proposal?”

Trump said while he wasn’t sure that the 350 number was the right number, “I’m not going to take a stand and tell Governor Jim Justice he should do nothing.”

Miller responded – “I went down and made an appointment with the Governor. I’m still waiting.”

To applause, Miller said – “I don’t want to see anything up here either.”

Thorne reiterated – “I would rather see the RV development outside the park in private hands.”

Local resident Stuart Sugg sits on the board of Morgan’s Ridge, a 50-property residential development located across from the state Fish Hatchery. Morgan’s Ridge abuts up against Cacapon State Park.

“I’ve been authorized to say that Morgan’s Ridge is absolutely opposed” to the Blue Water proposal, Sugg told the gathering.

Angela Petry said “if you want the theme park atmosphere, that’s available in other places.”

“Once you put in the Aquabanas, the miniature golf, the golf carts, the food trucks, the water slides – once you have that here, it undermines what thousands of people come here to enjoy – the trails, the wildlife, the trees, the quiet and the solitude.” 

Senator Charles Trump and Delegates Darren Thorne
and George Miller listening to citizens at
Cacapon State Park upper lake April 3, 2023
(Photo credit: Sadie Dingfelder)

“If you want that amusement park feel, you can go to Williamsport, Maryland to Yogi Bear Jellystone Park. They have back to back RVs. You go there for that theme park, constant entertainment experience. That’s not what this park is about. If you don’t protect that, who is going to protect it?”

“This park is protected,” Trump responded. “It is set aside for the mission of West Virginia State Parks, which includes bringing people to West Virginia.”

The citizens group has set up a web site – – where citizens can sign a petition urging the DNR  to withdraw the RFP. As of yesterday, more than 250 people have signed the petition.

The next scheduled meeting of the citizens group at the Cacapon State Park upper lake is Monday April 10 at 6 p.m.

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