BEARTOWN STATE PARK
Beartown State Park is a natural area of 107 acres located on the eastern summit of Droop Mountain, seven miles southwest of Hillsboro, West Virginia. The land was purchased in 1970 with funds from the Nature Conservancy and a donation from Mrs. Edwin G. Polan, in memory of her son, Ronald Keith Neal, who lost his life in the Vietnam War. Development of the park has been minimal in order to preserve the natural attractions of the area. However, basic facilities are provided, and a boardwalk permits easy access. Interpretive signs along the boardwalk guide visitors and provide insights concerning the ecology of the area. The park is open daily from April to October, and may be seen during the closed season by contacting the Superintendent of nearby Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park. No fee is charged.
Beartown is noted for its unusual rock formations, which are comprised of Droop, or Pottsville, Sandstone formed during the Pennsylvanian age. Massive boulders, overhanging cliffs, and deep crevasses stir the imagination of most visitors. Pocketing the face of the cliffs are hundreds of eroded pits, ranging from the size of marbles to others large enough to hold two grown men. Ice and snow commonly remain in the deeper crevasses until mid to late summer. Vegetation clings tenaciously to life, sending roots into mere cracks in the rocks.
At Beartown, one may see that the forces of nature are constantly at work, slowly breaking down even the largest rocks, only to deposit them elsewhere and build new ones. Witnessing the evidence of this process often allows visitors an opportunity to forget for a while the hectic pace of modern life.
The name Beartown was chosen because local residents claimed that the many cave-like openings in the rocks made ideal winter dens for the black bears of the area. Also, the many deep, narrow crevasses were formed in a somewhat regular criss-cross pattern and appear from above like the streets of a small town.