3 Deaf People start Deaf-centered outdoor space in West Virginia: Lost River Vacations


Three Deaf business owners have joined forces to buy 23 acres of land in Lost River, West Virginia with a dream to convert it into a campground with several tiny houses. The land is close to a state park. 

The three are Jane Jonas, Shawn Harrington, and Andrew St. Cyr. They told “The Daily Moth” that they are outdoor lovers and were sad that there was a lack of Deaf-centered outdoor spaces in the mid-Atlantic region, so they decided to do something about it. 

The land at Lost River was completely wild at purchase. They have created a road and a parking lot, added electricity, drilled for a well, and set up septic. 

Harrington, who owns a construction business, has worked with other Deaf craftsmen to build a tiny house. It will be used for rentals in the future. The group hopes to expand it to 8-10 houses for rent. 

I asked Harrington why did the three choose Lost River? 

Harrington: Why did we choose Lost River? One of our business partners, Jane Jonas, went there for a vacation. She fell in love with the place and told me about it. We each also visited Lost River on our own time. We saw that it was a beautiful, mountainous, retreat-style and quiet location. It was not that far away too! We felt instantly connected with the local community too. They’re very friendly and welcoming. We felt connected so that’s why we picked the city of Lost River.

Alex: The three said the project was done entirely by the Deaf ecosystem. The group has bigger visions for the land and the retreat.

Harrington: Our plan is to add more features and they include collaborating with Deaf project management and trail builders. They would build hiking trails on our land and we have a large swath of land. This is an exciting time for us and also we’ll get connected with Deaf disc golf course builders. They will build a 9 or18 holes course on our land. That’s our next project. We’re pretty ecstatic.

We’re really looking forward to showcasing the LRV because we’ve worked hard for a long time, coming up two years, and I’m really proud of how the three of us built connections with Deaf businesses. We really believe in supporting the Deaf ecosystem.

Alex: The three will have a launch party at a Deaf-owned brewery, Streetcar 82, in Hyattsville, Maryland on April 28 and will start a Kickstarter and an auction to raise more funds to expand the center. If you live in the area, you can attend by RSVPing. 

Calvin Young from “Seek the World” will be there and will release a video about their process. 

So, the three has turned their vision into reality, and want to go even further with our support. For more information, go to the link in the transcript.