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Rivers: Lifeblood of the Mountains

By Brian Hurley, Executive Director of the Friends of Deckers Creek, Morgantown, West Virginia


WV rivers great and small are a tremendous draw to the mountain state.  If you talk to a merchant, they will probably talk about the Ohio, the Monongahela, or the Kanawha rivers.  A whitewater rafting enthusiast will most likely talk about the Gauley River or the New River.  A trout angler will probably speak of the Elk River or the North Fork Potomac River.  A photographer might mention Blackwater falls or Glade Creek Grist Mill.  Each river user would likely talk of their preferred River’s beauty in similar terms; lush tree covered mountains, birds of prey soaring overhead and small towns nestled among stunning forests. 


Four different examples of people using the WV Rivers for four very different purposes, yet a similar appreciation of the deep mountain valleys split by wandering waters,  albeit, with varying levels of adrenalin.  Adrenalin fueled or not, the WV River’s experience unites all kinds of river users industrial, recreational and scenic.  They truly are the lifeblood of the mountains, of West Virginians, of vacationers and everyone downstream. The WV rivers are a common thread among those that rely on it for work, for play, for irrigation, for drinking water and for relaxation.  Industrialists and conservationists alike can happily agree on clean water to fish in, to move product in, to drink from, to instill awe and wonderment in their kids and grandkids.  It is a common thread that we can all agree on. The proposed West Virginia Scenic Rivers Act (2025) is not about slowing development and limiting economic prosperity, it is about keeping everyone’s experience with WV’s rivers, great and small, everything that it is.  It is a path to unite us, much like the rivers we all share.


Brian Hurley is the Executive Director of the Friends of Deckers Creek in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Friends of Deckers Creek mission is to improve the natural qualities of, increase the public concern for, and promote the enjoyment of the Deckers Creek Watershed.


Deckers Creek is a scenic tributary to the Monongahela River in north central West Virginia. From its headwaters outside the historic town of Arthurdale, Deckers Creek meanders through Preston County into Monongalia County, where it descends through a steep scenic gorge.


This beautiful section of Deckers Creek is filled with waterfalls, boulders, and rockslides, contains world class kayaking, and is frequented by kayakers, rock climbers, bikers and swimmers. From the gorge, Deckers Creek passes through several communities into Morgantown, West Virginia, where it empties into the Monongahela River.


To learn how to help the Friends of Deckers Creek fulfill its mission, to become a member, or to donate a gift, go to their website, www.deckerscreek.org.





Image Description: This unnamed tributary to Bull Run of the Cheat river is a small creek that has tremendous potential for a healthy stream ecosystem and deep forested beauty.  It currently runs red with acid mine drainage, but is in consideration for the long process of remediation.  Even with its discolored rocks, its forested streambanks make for striking pictures.

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