Many spectators were on hand early Friday morning, May 25, to cut the ribbon and officially open the new ADA Canoe/Kayak Launch on the Blackwater River in Canaan Valley. The launch/dock is located at the end of Camp 70 Road, 3.8 miles from the Shop and Save Store in Davis.
According to Ron Hollis, Project Manager and Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge Manager, “This project has been in the works for about a year. It is the first part of a three year plan, to be completed in 2020. These features will allow people with disabilities, as well as those without, to safety enter and exit the river. Our hope is to have it fully utilized this summer. It is a wonderful
addition that will allow all visitors will be able to enter and paddle up the river and check out the interior of the wildlife refuge from a totally different perspective.”
In 2019, the Federal Highways Administration will rehabilitate Brown Mountain Parking Lot by giving it a “crown”. A crown is referred to as a shaping of the road or parking lot giving it a higher middle section than the edges to allow water to run off properly. At the intersection of Rivers Edge Trail, there will be added two ADA accessible parking spaces. Another part of the project is to rehabilitate the actual Rivers Edge Trail into the ADA accessible trail to the canoe/kayak launch, this making it fully ADA accessible. There are plans to also create a water trail to allow the public to know how long the trip is an what they might see.
Hollis was quick to note that this venture has been a team effort. Members of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Tucker County Commission, Tucker County Planning Commission, Tucker County Chamber of Commerce, and WV Dept. of Natural Resources,US Forest Service, Town of Davis, Eric Thompson from WV On the Go, Jessica Waldo from the Visitors Bureau, and Steve Leyh from the Tucker County Development Authority have all been instrumental in seeing this project off the ground. “ He noted that Mary Wimmer, from the Morgantown Area Paddlers, had been very helpful with her expertise and knowledge.
“As we progress into creating more public use opportunities, this will allow different user groups to enjoy the river, anything from birders on kayaks to family trips in canoes, to a deer hunter that is brave enough to go up river to hunt. There may even be a duck hunter or two that could utilize a boat blind to enjoy some hunting.”
Steve Leyh, who was on hand for the launch representing the Tucker County Development Authority, noted, “This is good for the Town of Davis, Tucker County, and the citizens of the United States. “