Sept. 8, 1995: Park Superintendent Kermit McKeever Dies

Lost River State Park

Kermit McKeever died in Charleston on September 8, 1995, at age 85. The man remembered as the “father of West Virginia’s modern state park system” was born in Greenbrier County in 1910.

After graduating from Glenville State College and West Virginia University, McKeever began his career as superintendent of Lost River State Park.

In 1948, after serving as superintendent of Watoga State Park, he became head of all state parks. From the mid-1950s through early 1960s, McKeever helped establish new state parks at Blackwater Falls, Holly River, Grandview, Hawks Nest, Pipestem, Canaan, Cacapon, and Twin Falls. He retired in 1978. During his career as parks chief, the number of West Virginia state parks grew from 14 to 35, with a new one opening about every 16 months.

Kermit McKeever staunchly opposed entrance fees at the parks and disagreed with the recurring criticism that parks do not pay for themselves, noting, quote, “Canaan . . . opened the door to millions of dollars in businesses, taxes, and employment. The parks have many times paid for themselves.”

McKeever Lodge at Pipestem is named in his honor.