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Local parks promise hours of enjoyment for all ages

July 9, 2012
By KAYLA VAN DYNE - The Scene , Times Leader

MANY SUMMER activities such as fishing, hiking and can be found right here in the Ohio Valley. Places such as Barkcamp, Seneca Lake and Piedmont Lake offer outdoor activities without having to travel too far outside the area or making a huge impact on the wallet. Barkcamp which was first inhabited by several tribes of American Indians and has a bloody history since many conflicts between the tribes and the settlers were battled on this stretch of land.

Since 1955, Barkcamp has served as a park, which offers camping, swimming and boating, as well as fishing and miles of hiking trails. The area is pet-friendly and has picnic shelters. Campsites that can be rented as well as available cabins, and electricity and showers are available.

Much like Barkcamp, Seneca Lake in the Senecaville area offers swimming and boating with a life-guarded beach and available boat and jet ski rentals. Seneca has two available golf courses and a 6-mile trail that is open to walkers, equestrians and bicyclists.

Seneca Lake offers fishing for several kinds of catfish along with perch, bluegill and several other kinds of fish. Located under the dam is a fish hatchery, which has contributed greatly to the fishing in Seneca Lake.

Piedmont Lake, located in Belmont and Harrison counties, is inhabited by several types of fish. First started when it was impounded by a dam that extended across Stillwater Creek, it became a conservation pool in 1942. It is almost 15 feet deep and is 10 miles long.

Oglebay Park, located in Wheeling, has many several outdoor activities that extend beyond fishing and boating. Activities include two-seat pedal boats, a 19-hole miniature golf course and a playground that was renovated in October 2011. Oglebay also has a summer concert series that will run until August.

That park is also home to more than 50 different species in the 30-acre Good Zoo. Newer exhibits have been added and feature African wild dogs, meerkats and red pandas. An inside exhibits include a hands-on Discovery Lab that features smaller animals. The Bissonnette Gardens, once known as the Waddington Gardens, is a re-creation of the gardens that once grew there in the 1900s.

Also popular are several golf courses that Oglebay houses. There are the two championship golf courses, the18-hole Crispin regulation golf course, the Par III course and the driving range.

The best-kept secret in Marshall County is Grand Vue Park. Overlooking Moundsville and the Ohio Valley, Grand Vue Park sits on more then 650 acres of land. First dedicated in 1974, the year-round park has grown to not only accommodate outdoor activities, but now is a host for group outings, meetings and vacations.

The park that has been updated and includes cabins, a new playground, and a Par-3 18-hole golf course. Along with walking and biking trails, the facilities include an outdoor amphitheater and banquet hall.

The Grand Vue Park Canopy Tour and ride are to be completed this summer. The three-hour tour will include eight dual zip lines that travel 340-1500 feet through the trees. In order to do either the tour or the ride, participants must weigh between 70-270 pounds, wear closed-toed shoes, and be able to travel up multiple flights of stairs and hills. Children 15 years old or younger must have an adult accompany them.

Tappan Lake Park in Deersville is the home to more than 500 campsites with Class A hookups and electric. A beach for swimming, along with both vacation and camper cabins can be found there. A trail connects to the park with the Tappan Wetlands, where guest can watch wildlife frolicking through the park. Tappan Lake provides free Wi-Fi, laundry and an activity center.

Salt Fork State Park, located near Cambridge, is the home to the Salt Fork Lodge, which has 148 guest rooms overlooking the lake. The lodge alone features a dining room, coffee shop, snack bar, an indoor game area and large meeting rooms that can hold up to 450 people. Guests can enjoy swimming pools, sauna, and tennis courts.

The state park also has volleyball and basketball courts, a beach, boat launching and docking facilities.

Other then the lodge, guests can chose to stay in one of the 37 cottages, each containing two bedrooms with fully furnished living and dining areas. All cottages are available year-round. Pets are permitted in certain cottages. There are also 192 campsites with electricity, heated shower houses and flush toilets. Pets are also permitted in certain sites.

Other features of this park include an 18-hole golf course and pro shop, 14 hiking trails, nine picnic areas. There are also two shelters available as well. The nature center offers nature programs during the summer.

Van Dyne can be reached at



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