The Deans, who operate a paving business in the Kenova area, had a vision. They knew the Elk in that stretch was spectacularly rich in insect and fish life, and as a result they knew Elk Springs had the potential to become a must-go destination for trout anglers from all over. They set out to make it so.
"The first year, we basically just cleaned up and got everything working again," Lisa said. "Then, over the course of 54 weeks, we got the [six-room] lodge completed. Then we redid the trout hatchery, which had fallen into disrepair. After that, we bought some property across the road and built more cabins there. We now have 14."
The largest improvement, a two-story building with a 2,500 square-foot restaurant on the first floor and a similarly sized fly shop on the second, came online two years ago.
"Our last construction was of six new cabins and a state-of-the-art bathhouse, where guests in each of the cabins have their own individual showers and toilets," Lisa said.
The improvements attracted attention.
"It started with fishermen from Parkersburg, Morgantown and Charleston," Lisa said. "They started coming here and staying overnight. Now we're getting people from everywhere, even from foreign countries. Last year a big group came here all the way from Japan."
The resort has been featured in prominent fly-fishing magazines and on national cable TV fishing shows. Its scenic setting near the Elk has also made it a popular spot for weddings and receptions.
And now it's going to be the scene of a party.
Dean said the festivities should begin at about 5 p.m. on Feb. 22, with the roast and Hall of Fame induction of Yufer to follow at about 7.
"It's going to be a fun evening," she said.