Want to know more about Morgantown Area Paddlers (MAP)?! MAP is a flat-water paddling group focused on promoting and developing social, relaxed kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding in the Morgantown area. As of May 17th, 2016 there are 173 members, with 15 of them having joined just in the last month. In other exciting news the group, through local businesses, organizations, and grants, raised over $38,000 to put towards a new kayak launch. The new launch will provide a safe way to enter, avoiding slipping and bobbing when getting in or out of your boat. It also avoids the deep muck along the river’s edge. You can look for this new boat launch to be installed at the Van Voorhis Trailhead of the Mon River Rail Trail and Water Trail. Be sure to come out and join the Morgantown Area Paddlers on their paddling trips or other outings. Upcoming events can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=morgantown%20area%20paddlers
By Cassie Shaner – The Dominion Post
Nearly a dozen entities are working together to keep the Monongahela River’s Hildebrand and Opekiska locks open for 28 days this summer, at a cost of about $40,000.
Barry Pallay, president of the Upper Mon River Association (UMRA), said their ultimate goal is to boost recreation and commerce on the Mon to keep those locks open daily. The Morgantown lock is already open from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. seven days a week.
“This is all the community pulling together, to work together, to use one of the great resources we have in the area,” Pallay said. “This is a beautiful, 30-mile stretch of river, in mostly Mon County, that the public can take advantage of.”
The Hildebrand and Opekiska locks were closed to recreational traffic, except by appointment, in 2012. They re-opened last summer for 18 days, after nearly two years of negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Pallay said the locks re-opened — and remain open even longer this year — thanks to a coalition of about nine groups. That includes the Mon and Marion county commissions, Mon County Development Authority, Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau, Marion County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Granville, Westover and Morgantown.
Pallay said there were 115 commercial passages at all three local locks last year. That equates to about 3,600 trucks that weren’t on area roadways, he said.
Expanding river recreation offers even greater economic opportunities. Pallay said there are 600-plus fishing tournaments in West Virginia each year, but few are held on the Mon, because of lock limitations.
The Bass Federation’s Mid-Atlantic Bass Tournament, slated for September, is expected to bring $100,000 to the region, Pallay said.
“We have this enormous opportunity to re-grow the recreation side,” Pallay said.
Another possibility is a boat rental business along the water. Mary Wimmer, of Morgantown Area Paddlers, said she has repeatedly been asked about rentals and shuttles along the Mon for kayakers.
Wimmer’s kayaking group went through seven lockages last year — five at the Morgantown lock and two in Point Marion, Pa. The group has not been through Hildebrand and Opekiska because of the limited hours. But she’s been assessing access points for a trip this year.
“Considering the interest we’ve seen in flatwater boating — and I hope to see in kayak fishing — I think we’re going to see recreational use of the river increase,” Wimmer said. “As that happens, it’s nice to do some longer trips. … Having that stretch of the river open from Uffington south to Pricketts Fort is a beautiful stretch of river.”
Wimmer’s group is an example of the growth in river recreation. Morgantown Area Paddlers, formed last year, now has 174 people on its email list, which grew by 15 just in the last month.
Upper Mon River Association (UMRA) has worked tirelessly to keep key locks open along the Monongahela River in West Virginia.
The list below (from UMRA) is the 2016 upper Mon Lock schedule for Opekiska and Hildebrand locks.
Please notice that these two locks will be open from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm on the days listed. The Morgantown lock will be open from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm daily.
Also listed are events that are taking place on the river while locks are scheduled to be open.
These dates have been approved with the Corp of Engineers in accordance with the agreement reached last year to use contributing funds for the opening of the locks.
|Date||Start Time||Finish Time||Subtotal (hrs)||Startup/ Shutdown Time (2 hrs)||Total (hrs)|
|14-May-16||700||1600||9||2||11||Hildebrand Lock Only|
|28-May-16||700||1600||9||2||11||Marion County 3 Rivers|
|29-May-16||700||1600||9||2||11||Marion County 3 Rivers|
|4-Jun-16||700||1600||9||2||11||Marion County Invitational Bass Tournament|
|5-Jun-16||700||1600||9||2||11||Marion County Invitational Bass Tournament|
|25-Jun-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Invitational Bass Tournament|
|26-Jun-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Invitational Bass Tournament|
|2-Jul-16||700||1600||9||2||11||4th of July weekend|
|3-Jul-16||700||1600||9||2||11||4th of July weekend|
|17-Sep-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Mid-Atlantic Bass Tournament|
|18-Sep-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Mid-Atlantic Atlantic Bass Tournament|
|19-Sep-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Mid-Atlantic Atlantic Bass Tournament|
|20-Sep-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Mid-Atlantic Atlantic Bass Tournament|
|21-Sep-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Mid-Atlantic Atlantic Bass Tournament|
|22-Sep-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Mid-Atlantic Atlantic Bass Tournament|
|23-Sep-16||700||1600||9||2||11||TBF Mid-Atlantic Atlantic Bass Tournament|
The public boat launch and boat docks in Rices Landing are not open this season due to significant silting in Pumpkin Run, the access point to the Mon River. The River Town Program is working with Rices Landing Borough and other interested parties on securing the necessary funds to dredge the access area and allow boater access. Until further notice, these amenities will unfortunately not be open to the public.
A notice was recently posted on the Maxwell Basin Recreation Area Facebook page. We encourage other organizations and individuals who want to continue to see improvement and energy in the Mon River Valley, to post or share similar notices. It was the Mon River Valley communities that came together in 2013 to ensure the Monongahela was Pennsylvania’s River of the Year. There is certainly great power in numbers, so please share events, activities, projects throughout the Valley. Let us know of your activities and we will share through the River Town Program!
TO ALL OF OUR FRIENDS OF THE MBRA! We are a member of the MON RIVER COALITION whose goal is to promote events and recreation along the Monongahela River. Our members include just about every town touching the Mon from Morgantown to the town of Monongahela. You will see postings about their towns on this site and they in turn are posting MBRA events and recreational opportunities! You can really help us by sharing things that you like on your wall. The more that visit the Mon River Valley – the merrier! There will be so many things to do here this summer!
On May 3 -5, 2016, representatives of the River Town Program joined with the chairwoman of the Canal Town Partnership to participate as a team at The Conservation Fund’s leadership program: “Balancing Nature and Commerce in Rural Communities and Landscapes.” Held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the conference consisted of lectures by nationally recognized economic development experts followed by workshops conducted by the Conservation Fund’s facilitators.
Three teams, in addition to the River Town/Canal Town team, were selected to attend this program and benefit from the knowledge of a wide range of experts in numerous fields related to economic development in rural communities and small towns. Other teams were from Tucker County, WV, the Northern Neck of Virginia, and the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area in Illinois.
The River Town/Canal Town team consisted of Cathy McCollom, River Town Program director; Donna Holdorf, Executive Director of the National Road Heritage Corridor; Kent Edwards, an architect and principal of McCollom Development Strategies; Dennis Martinak, a 21 year employee of Mackin Engineering and a resident and councilman of Allenport, Pennsylvania, a town which recently joined the River Town Program;. Marla Meyer Papernik withthe Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Lois Turco, chair of the Canal Town Partnership; and Wendy Duchene, an attorney and writer rounded out the team.
Over an intensive three days of lectures and workshops, the River Town /Canal Town team applied what was gleaned from the speakers to the particular needs of the towns in the Monongahela River Valley region. In workshops held over the duration of the program, including an intensive four-hour session on the final day, the team developed an action strategy and timeline for a trail project to connect and benefit a number of towns bordering the Monongahela River. Community meetings will be held in the near future to get public input on the proposed project.
Martinak, who has an extensive background in community planning, explained the lessons he took away from the conference: “There are opportunities for our communities to experience revitalization but it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to have to work together, promote our assets, have a plan and support it, and use the resources that are available to us.” Martinak also noted that the towns in the River Town Coalition need to strive for responsible development and “look outside of the region for assistance when there are gaps in our expertise in order to move our plans forward. Image and quality of life are important to the future success of our towns. The way residents and business owners see their own community is key.”
Papernik agreed, stating: “Economic development, particularly as it relates to tourism, must embrace what is organically part of the community. There is nothing that can replace authenticity to engage the local population as well as provide for a rewarding visitor experience.”
A recurring theme of the conference was the need to focus on improving the lives of residents of small towns in a rapidly changing world. All team members noted this theme reinforced the goal of the River Town Program to work to enhance both the natural and community assets which already exist in the Monongahela River Valley towns and to rekindle regional pride in those towns. The River Town Program’s focus on outdoor recreation exists to enhance the lives of the town residents first, while also using those outdoor recreational opportunities to drive economic development.