University promoting proximity to state, national parks

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University promoting proximity to state, national parks
Students are finding West Virginia higher education ideal when outdoor recreation is a concern. (Photo: Neal E. Johnson)

Two of West Virginia's best-loved state and national parks are a drive of fewer than 15 minutes from Concord University, which is maximizing that advantage to the benefit of students.

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Officials are working with nearby Pipestem Resort State Park to provide students discounted opportunities for zip-lining, water recreation, and other outdoor adventures, though the school has long attracted outdoor enthusiasts.

Forty-eight bells, include a 2.96-ton bourdon, hang in the bell tower at Concord University.
Forty-eight bells hang in the bell tower at Concord University. (Photo: Concord University)

University President Kendra Boggess says the initiative bolsters student health and helps attract students who are enthusiastic about the outdoors.

“Pipestem is such a great outdoor resource, and it’s located right here,” Boggess said of the 4,050-acre park.

Pipestem is perhaps best known for its scenic aerial tramway and a new 1.5-mile system of zip-lines that descends into the canyon of the Bluestone River.

Boggess says promoting the school's advantages where nature is concerned is important, especially considering the benefits of attending an institution insulated from metropolitan issues.

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“We want our students to be active and to know the great area in which we are located,” she said.

In addition to Pipestem, Concord students similarly benefit from the school's proximity to Bluestone National Scenic River, which is adjacent to Pipestem, and the nearby the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, both of which are managed by the National Park Service.

The vast Bluestone Lake Wildlife Management Area also protects more than 17,000 acres of lake and remote forest less than 10 miles away.

Also a stone's throw from the university, Bluestone State Park and Camp Creek State Park attract tourists year-round, while the vast George Washington & Jefferson National Forests extend for miles along the southern horizon.

In addition, Winterplace ski resort is a drive of fewer than 30 minutes from campus and employs many Concord students in winter.

Celebrating its 147th year, the university boasts some of West Virginia's most highly accredited bachelor's and master’s programs and a student-to-faculty ratio of fifteen-to-one.

For more information on Concord University, visit Concord.edu.


Zipline tours of the Bluestone Gorge open at Pipestem

A series of ziplines now leads adventurers on a remarkable canopy tour through the Bluestone River Gorge.
Ziplines lead adventurers on a remarkable canopy tour into the Bluestone River Gorge.

Pipestem Resort State Park unveiled the state’s newest aerial adventure—a series of zip-lines that lets riders soar for more than a mile above the breathtaking Bluestone National Scenic River. Stephen McDaniel, director of the state Division of Natural Resources, heralded the zip-line network as among the world’s most fantastic canopy-tour venues and thanked the state’s governor for emphasizing tourism as a leading industry. Read the full story here.

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