West Virginia Rivers Coalition
3501 MacCorkle Ave. SE #129
Charleston, WV 25304
About Birthplace of Rivers
The Birthplace of Rivers National Monumentcampaign involves a coalition of local elected officials, recreation groups, faith communities, conservation organizations, businesses and individuals that supports establishing a national monument for an area of the southern Monongahela National Forest.
A national monument is a special designation which preserves places possessing unique scientific, scenic, geological, cultural or historic values. They may be designated by Congress or by presidential proclamation.
Gauley River Facts
The Gauley is one of six rivers whose headwaters are in the proposed monument.
It rises on Gauley Mountain and drops nearly 4,000 feet along the 104-mile journey to its juncture with the New River.
It drains nearly 1,350 square miles, including the watersheds of the Cherry, Cranberry, and Williams rivers—which also rise in Birthplace of Rivers.
The Gauley is internationally known for its world-class whitewater, contributing millions in annual tax revenue to West Virginia from commercial rafting.
In 2010, American Rivers named the Gauley one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers due to threats from mountaintop removal coal mining.
Looking for a past edition of
Birthplace of Rivers News? Click here
for the archive.
Washington Post, Charleston Daily Mail: Could Monument be an Antidote to Tourism Slump?
A July 31 article in the Washington Post, also published in the Charleston Daily Mail, confirms that the January chemical leak into the Elk River has had an impact on West Virginia tourism this year. In the article, Dave Arnold, owner of Adventures on the Gorge, says, "My whole life has been about selling West Virginia,” he said. “Never before have we seen an event that caused so many negative reactions.”
Tourism is built on perception, Arnold says, and West Virginia’s image as a “wild, wonderful” destination, was damaged.
Turning around the state’s image isn't the only reason to support Birthplace of Rivers National Monument, but clearly the Mountain State could use the shot in the arm a monument can bring.
Faces of BOR: Bobby Bower
Bobby Bower, owner of Pro River Outfitters and executive director of WV Professional River Outfitters, is a Mountain State icon. For two decades he’s been a river guide, professional angler and guide, and ambassador for outdoor recreation. He’s also a leader in the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument movement. “I’ve been trying to spread the love on this thing as much as I can,” Bobby said. “I think it would be huge for this state.”
Bobby writes eloquently in support of the monument: “Here in the New River Gorge region, we understand the value of a strong outdoor recreation economy. That is one reason why so many local businesses, elected officials and a growing chorus of West Virginians are calling for protection of Birthplace of Rivers National Monument.”
With Bobby, the monument is more than business. “If I ever have a day off, I’m up in the Cranberry enjoying myself,” Bobby says. Thanks, Bobby! A tip of the paddle to you!
American Whitewater Promotes Paddling the Monument
Hey, all you paddlers! Looking to explore Birthplace of Rivers on the water? American Whitewater has made finding the perfect put-in as simple as a click. Check out the site for links to descriptions and gauge and access info.
American Whitewater supports the Birthplace of Rivers concept and is working to see this important landscape protected and celebrated as a National Monument. AW is especially interested in the monument as the headwaters of the Gauley, a river celebrated by whitewater enthusiasts worldwide.
Gauley release dates are scheduled for Friday–Monday through September, and weekends till October 12 (plus the Sunday after Bridge Day). Click here for complete schedule.
Speaking of the Gauley River, September is the beginning of Gauley Season, seven weekends of dam releases that draw paddlers from all over the planet to West Virginia.
Gauley Fest takes place September 19–20 in Summersville. Stop by the West Virginia Rivers Coalition booth for a Birthplace of Rivers sticker and pint cup.
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