It’s always a big deal.
But this year, it’s going to be huge.
Gauley Season starts today.
It’s one of the top events for tourism for southern West Virginia each year.
Approximately 40,000 people paddle the exciting Gauley River each season, but even more whitewater rafting enthusiasts are expected due to increased number of days allowed on the water — and an increased flow of water for real thrillseekers.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to complete a more extensive inspection of Summersville Dam this year, so thousands more gallons of water will be released throughout the week as they prepare the lake for winter, creating an unprecedented 24-day rafting streak and 32 total rafting days, as opposed to the typical 23-day season.
The cooperation between the West Virginia Whitewater Advisory Panel and the Corps of Engineers resulted in plans for three sets of midweek releases on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, adding nine days to the season.
Water release dates are scheduled for today through Monday, Sept. 13-30, Oct. 1-6, Oct. 12-13 and Oct. 19-20.
The rafting season is a real boost to our local economy.
It is also one of the real points of pride that we share here in southern West Virginia as we think of our region as an outdoor paradise and a destination for nature lovers.
We welcome our out-of-state visitors to soak in all that West Virginia has to offer. You’re bound to find our state even more “Wild and Wonderful” than the brochures can boast.
And to our local readers, we encourage you to support our local businesses in the rafting industry while enjoying the excitement of whitewater rafting season.