CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A water trail is being planned for the upper Cheat River, starting with a 38-mile stretch of gentle paddling water between Hendricks in Tucker County and Rowlesburg in Preston County.
"The upper Cheat is a beautiful, easy section of river to make available to the world," said Peggy Pings, an outdoor recreation planner with the National Park Service's Rivers and Trails Program. A Cheat River water trail would likely qualify for inclusion in a new national system of water trails being developed with NPS assistance, Pings said.
The proposed water trail is a project of the Friends of the Cheat watershed organization, which will soon begin holding public meetings and informational sessions with county commissions and other local government groups along the upper Cheat River to discuss the project.
The Upper Cheat Water Trail would allow "individuals of limited paddling abilities to experience one of West Virginia's most scenic rivers," said Frank Jernejcic, district fishery biologist with the West Virginia DNR, in a news release announcing plans for the water trail. "The Cheat's smallmouth bass fishery has improved significantly during the past 30 years and can provide fishing opportunities for neophyte and experienced anglers alike."
Potential stream access points have been identified and surveyed to determine what property owners should be contacted and what signage and boat launch improvements may be needed to create user-friendly stream access. Research is also being done to identify historical sites and significant natural areas along the paddling route, as well as businesses likely to be patronized by water trail users. Maps, brochures and a water trail website are in the preliminary stage of development.
Copies of the Upper Cheat Water Trail draft designation document are posted in the Tucker County Courthouse, the Tucker County Commission office, Five Rivers Public Library, Parsons City Hall, Hendricks Town Hall, Hambleton Town Hall, Davis City Hall, Thomas City Hall, Mountaintop Public Library, Tucker County Development Authority, Tucker County Visitors Information Center, Preston County Commission Office, Preston County Courthouse, Kingwood City Hall, Kingwood Public Library, Rowlesburg Town Hall, Rowlesburg Post Office and Albright Town Hall. The document is also available online at www.cheatriverwatertrail.org.For more information, contact Cheat River Water Trail Committee chairman David Cassell at mtbik...@comcast.net, visit the water trail website listed above, or view the organization's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/cheat.river.water.trail.