CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Charging stations for electric vehicles are expected to be installed at all West Virginia state park guest lodges by the end of the year.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports nine of the state's 10 park lodges already have at least three Tesla electric vehicle chargers and one universal vehicle charging unit. North Bend State Park is expected to have four charging stations installed before January.
The units are available to all electric vehicle drivers free of charges even if they're not state park lodge guests.
Lodge and resort parks district administrator Paul Redford said the chargers offer great exposure to the state park system.
Although the units generate no revenue, drivers have time to "look around, visit our gift shops, get a bite to eat in our restaurants or decide to spend the night at one of our lodges, either that day or sometime in the future," Redford said.
The units are now available at Blackwater Falls, Cacapon, Canaan Valley, Chief Logan, Hawks Nest, Pipestem, Stonewall Jackson, Twin Falls and Tygart Lake state parks.
The charging stations are part of an eco-friendly movement within the parks system.
Among its recycling efforts, Redford said the system has switched from using Styrofoam to recyclable paper cups for serving coffee. Some parks also are switching from incandescent to LED lighting and installing low-flow toilets to reduce water consumption.
And an outdoor pool at Watoga State Park in Pocahontas County is now solar heated, paid for by the park's foundation with help from the county commission.
Sam England, chief of the DNR's parks and recreation section, said the pool at the resort in Marlinton, elevation 2,100 feet, "was formerly known as the coldest pool in the state of West Virginia." Now the pool's warmer temperatures have attracted swimmers to the park, he said.
In addition, England said he challenged state park superintendents to reduce the amount of grass brush being mowed by at least 10 percent to save on fuel costs and on equipment wear and tear.