• rafters paddling through whitewater

    Gauley River

    National Recreation Area West Virginia

River Safety Program Developed to Alert Boaters of Flow Reduction on Gauley River

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Date: September 6, 2013
Contact: Jeff West, Chief Ranger, 304-465-6518

Glen Jean, West Virginia, August 27, 2013– The 2013 Gauley Season begins onSeptember 6, 2013. National Park Service Rangers will provide daily patrols during the scheduled releases to provide safety oversight of boaters and commercial outfitters on the river. As part of the park's river safety program, NPS rangers and local emergency personnel may request a reduction of the scheduled water releases from Summersville Dam in the event of an emergency.

Signs will be used during Gauley River boating season and placed at the Summersville Dam, Mason's Branch, and the Wood's Ferry pubic boat launches. When these signs are in place, boaters must be aware that a reduction in flow will dramatically change the characteristics of the rapids. Boaters should assess their skill level to decide whether to make the trip on the Gauley River at reduced water levels.  

Two signs have been developed to provide alerts to boaters. One states that the flow will be reducedto1800 CFS and will showcase a green flag to indicate this reduction. A second sign will indicate that the flow will be reduced tobelow1800 CFS and will showcase an orange flag. Examples of the signs are below. NPS Rangers patrolling the area can also provide information to boaters about flow reduction. Boaters and rafters alike are encouraged to exercise caution and safety when enjoying the river this season. For questions about the river safety program, please contact Chief Ranger Jeff West at 304-465-6518.

Did You Know?

Rafters and rafts below Sweets Falls

Whitewater rafting attracts over 60,000 adventurers to the Gauley River each year. The upper Gauley offers tremendous class III to V+ drops in steep, turbulent chutes such as Pillow Rock and Sweet's Falls, and rocky routes that demand constant maneuvering such as Lost Paddle and Shipwreck.