Working at Canaan Valley is the "best job in the world"
By Jama L. Jarrett
CANAAN VALLEY, W.Va. – As young boys and girls, we all had aspirations and big ideas about what we wanted to be when we grew up. While many of us ended up following another career path, Stan Beafore followed his childhood dreams and turned them into a life-long career.
Beafore always knew he wanted to be a park ranger. “I’ve always loved the outdoors and knew, at a very young age, that I wanted to work in this occupation,” said Beafore.
This Fairmont native spent countless hours as a child and young boy fishing and camping around the Mountain state, only intensifying his desire to work outside. While attending West Virginia University (WVU), Beafore had the opportunity to do his internship at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Upon graduation from WVU he returned to the site to begin his career with the National Park Service. “I wanted to work in the West; somewhere in the Rocky Mountains,” said Beafore.
Although the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone was an impressive exchange, there was a missing element in Beafore’s dream. “I always knew I would return to West Virginia. The mountains here may not be as high but they are just as beautiful, if not more,” said Beafore.
Given his familiarity of the Mountain State, Beafore knew that its state park system was first-rate. “West Virginia’s state parks make it easy to explore the natural beauty of the state,” said the assistant superintendent of Canaan Valley State Park. “Having the opportunity to work and live in one of the state’s most beautiful areas is a privilege. I love what I do and I love where I live.”
When Beafore moved back home in 1990, he brought his wife Kimberly with him. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kimberly currently works as a program coordinator for Tucker County Connections, a nonprofit community based group that provides outdoor education and cultural history programs for area children.
“I spent some time in West Virginia in 1978 and 1980 hiking and camping. I had seen enough mountains in my two visits that I knew this state was special and I would enjoy living here,” said Kimberly. “While I'm not a native and may never be called a local, I'm very passionate about West Virginia and consider this my home.”
Even though Canaan Valley is one of Beafore’s favorite spots in West Virginia he also enjoys the New River Gorge and Spruce Knob areas. “I would encourage anyone to relocate or move back to West Virginia,” said Beafore. “Not only do we have the beauty but we also have the opportunity.”
“I have a lot of people tell me I have the best job in the world. I couldn’t agree more.”