In June 2022, Todd Burbage, the CEO of Blue Water, was being interviewed by Mike Gast of RV Travel and Ben Quiggle of Woodall’s Campground Magazine.
“We have a lot of federal and state parks that are in dire need of some infrastructure,” Gast said. “I know that previous administrations really looked at the private/public partnerships.”
“Would Blue Water be in the market for taking over and running some national park campgrounds or state park campgrounds?” Mike Gast asked Burbage.
“Absolutely,” Burbage answers. “We’re actually in high level talks with one of the Mid Atlantic states right now. They’re actually being wildly helpful with us. The Governor and even a federal Senator asked us to come see him. I came to the Governor’s state house.”
“One thing that the government does really well is protect beautiful parcels of land,” Burbage said. “But when it comes to providing services along the level of what you and I expect, they just don’t have the expertise in it. And we absolutely would help out any federal or state agency whenever we want.”
Blue Water promoted the Burbage interview in a June 2022 press release titled — Blue Water CEO Interviewed by Woodall’s Campground Magazine.
Morgan County USA has inquiries into the offices of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Shelley Moore Capito to see if they met with or spoke with Blue Water execs in 2022 before the issuance of the Request for Proposal (RFP) in December 2022.
Morgan County USA also asked Emily DeMarco, project manager at Blue Water, whether any Blue Water executives met with Governor Justice or either of the West Virginia Senators to discuss the development at Cacapon prior to the issuance of the RFP in December 2022.
(No answer yet, will update if we get responses.)
Morgan County USA and local resident Bruce Goldstein today filed a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and various state agency executives seeking documentary evidence of meetings, conversations or interactions between West Virginia state officials and Blue Water.
Morgan County’s weekly newspaper, the Morgan Messenger, this week also came out against the Blue Water proposal in an long editorial titled — RV Proposals Don’t Fit Cacapon.
“We personally know many people who would stop their family traditions of coming to Cacapon for vacations if the park became crowded, noisier, busier and less natural,” the editor wrote.
“The theme-park style proposal from RV campground developer Blue Water is obviously a successful model for their private enterprise. It just doesn’t fit inside Cacapon State Park.”
“There’s no sense trying to reshape the very essence of the park – its rocky, mountainous beauty – just to grab another dollar or two,” the editor concluded. “That will be a losing proposition for everyone involved – most especially for those of us who know Cacapon as a place to experience the best of what our area has to offer. The proposed RV plans simply won’t make the park better, and should be rejected.”