On April 26, a brisk Saturday morning in St. George, six volunteers gathered at the Blackwater Outdoor Adventures (BOA) River Outpost to plan a trash clean up along the new Cheat River Water Trail.
Sponsored and supported by BOA’s owner Patrick McCann, the group decided to start at the upper put-in in Hendricks and collect refuse along the stretch from Hendricks to Parsons, a section of the Blackfork spanning approximately 3 miles. Using canoes and safety gear provided by BOA, the group started out by picking up litter near the put-in before heading downstream. Passing Hendricks and Hambleton, the group stopped a dozen or so times to gather old tires, metal pipe, pieces of fence, rusted buckets, and a range of other junk that had washed down the river over the years. By the time the group reached CJ’s Pizza in Parsons at 3 PM their canoes were loaded down with refuse. Buoyed by their success, BOA plans to support an annual river clean up along the Cheat River Water Trail every spring.
The National Water Trail System was established in 2012, and new Water Trails are being planned and developed along the Guyandotte, the Coal, Monongahela, and the Elk River. The Cheat River Water Trail is in its second year and runs from Hendricks to Rowlesburg, for a total river distance of 38.3 miles. Water trails are becoming increasingly popular in West Virginia, providing communities with opportunities to increase recreation and tourism and related economic development, as well as offering local residents with interesting and exciting leisure activities. Water Trails link communities and public green space, connecting parks such as the Mill Race Park in Parsons with Rowlesburg’s Riverside Park. The Cheat River Water Trail will result in improved public access while showcasing the area’s outstanding scenic landscape between Hendricks and Rowlesburg.