CHARLESTON — The popular version of Monopoly that features WestVirginia state parks and forests is still available for gift giving this holiday season, but supplies are limited and may not last long.

Parker Brothers’ Monopoly game and the specialty games produced by USAOPOLY, Inc., were not invented when West Virginia’s state park system began in 1928. By 1935, when the game Monopoly was first retailed, West Virginia already had a few parks and forests dotting the landscape with picnic shelters, cabins and trails. When the 75th anniversary of West Virginia’s state parks was recognized in 2003, the park system had more than 50 areas in the system.

In a cooperative venture with USAOPOLY, Inc., former West Virginia State Parks Chief J.R. Pope helped arrange the development of a limited edition game to recognize the importance of state parks and forests to West Virginia’s history and economy. The result was the West Virginia State Parks 75th Anniversary Monopoly Collector’s Edition.

The game was so popular that it went back for a second printing, but supplies are running low and it will not be reprinted again. The remaining USAOPOLY games are retailed in gift shops at parks and forests as well as Tamarack and other outlets. Online ordering from www.wvstateparks.com is also a popular method of purchase. Proceeds from the purchase price go directly to the Special Revenue Fund of the West Virginia State Park system. By law, this fund can only be used for the operation and improvement of West Virginia state parks.

This exclusive USAOPOLY game production features different tokens than the traditional Monopoly game. A mountaineer represents the mountain state. A cannon represents the Civil War battlefields preserved at Droop Mountain and Carnifex Ferry. A golf bag salutes West Virginia state park golf courses from the Palmer course at Stonewall to the Robert Trent Jones Sr., course at Cacapon, along with all the outdoor recreation opportunities available today at state parks. A bear directs attention to the official state animal and the diversity of wildlife in West Virginia.

A bicycle reminds players of the miles of hiking and biking opportunities at parks and forests. A Cass Shay locomotive represents the world's largest collection of operating gear driven locomotives that resides at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.

Played like traditional Monopoly, the building properties are 32 cabins and 12 lodges. The classic Monopoly money is replaced with West Virginia State Park Bucks and features Blackwater Falls.

Ken Caplinger, acting chief of West Virginia State Parks, says “It’s practically a history lesson of our park system. We continue to receive compliments from visitors and guests about this game and the conversations that families consequently have regarding past trips and vacations at our parks and forests. Everyone knows Monopoly, and it seems that everyone has visited a state park as a child or with a child and if they haven’t, this game encourages a visit.’’

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