Gauley Season 2016 Update (WV)
Earlier this summer West Virginia was hit hard with massive flooding. Both the Gauley River and Meadow River watersheds were flooded by heavy rains. The Gauley River set a flow record and Summersville Lake recorded the second highest lake level in its history. Downstream, nearly every boat launch and take-out was damaged to some degree. Despite the flooding, the put-ins and take-outs at the Tailwaters, Mason’s Branch, Wood’s Ferry, and upper Swiss will all be open for Gauley season.
Read the full open letter to Gauley boaters posted here.
An excerpt of the letter is posted below:
The Mason’s Branch access road was undercut, washed out, and damaged by the flash flooding and was closed to the public on June 25th for safety reasons. The park began emergency repair work on August 15th to get it into safe and usable condition by opening day. The repair is expected to be completed by September 4th. Parking is limited and fills to capacity nearly every boating day. American Whitewater continues to lease the Legg field above Mason’s Branch. The field will be available throughout the Gauley season for private boater parking when the available parking below fills up. The walking trail from the river to the field has been checked and is clear of fallen trees and obstructions for those walking or carrying boats uphill to their car parked in the field. Like in the past, the rangers plan on opening Mason’s Branch access road for unrestricted travel sometime in the afternoon, probably around 1 pm, or whenever commercial bus traffic is through for the day.
Parking at Wood’s Ferry will be managed like it has in the past with few restrictions. Boaters are asked to park close together in an organized fashion to take advantage of all the available space and to create parking opportunities for others. Wood’s Ferry fills to capacity on some weekends. Boaters should be aware that this may happen again on particularly busy days and that parking is available but not unlimited. The upstream end of Wood’s Ferry is used for dropping off and picking up boats and gear and not for parking during the day. Unattended vehicles parked at the upstream end will be towed.
The public take-out at upper Swiss is the only lower Gauley public take-out within the recreation area. Parking is available to boaters in the field. The parcel, both the field and boat launch remain closed to camping. The park offers camping opportunities at the Tailwaters campground and there are other private and public campgrounds in the area.
Camping at the Gauley Tailwaters campground is free of charge and is on a first come, first served basis. There is a maximum of 8 people allowed in each campsite. There is a 2 tent, 2 vehicle maximum at each site. Quiet hours are from 10pm to 6am in the campground. Rangers provide patrols and may register each campsite. Campers who bring their pets are asked to keep their pets on a leash. The public boat launch at the Tailwaters is being improved by the park maintenance staff prior to the boating season.
Again, the full letter to Gauley boaters posted here.
To help with overflow parking at Mason's Branch, American Whitewater leases the Legg field above Mason’s Branch. The field will be available throughout the Gauley season for private boater parking. This is made possible through the membership dues of AW members.
The Gauley release schedule is posted on the US Corps Of Engineers website here.
Gauley River (WV)
For many years AW has worked on the protection of this river and advocated for public access.
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