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Regatta float aims to highlight West Virginia river trails

July 7, 2018

BARBOURSVILLE - Outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers alike have a chance to see the Mountain State from a different perspective - the water - during the 2018 Great Guyandotte River Regatta and Float scheduled for Saturday, July 14.

The event highlights select areas of the Guyandotte Water Trail, a recreational trail for non-motorized boaters and fishermen that stretches 160 miles through five counties.

The regatta is being held to encourage the use of the Guyandotte River for recreation and promote the Guyandotte Water Trail, a designated West Virginia water trail. Executive director of the National Coal Heritage Area Authority Christy Bailey said the river trail presents a unique opportunity to expand tourism destinations in West Virginia.

“A lot of our communities are hanging their hat on tourism in this day and age,” Bailey said. “Many parts of the state have Hatfield-McCoy trails, but other areas are looking for more events to host tourists. People love it because it’s a way to draw in a different crowd.”

Barboursville is one of five host cities along the Guyandotte River Trail where participants will be able to enjoy a two-hour float on the water beginning at the put-in location at Barboursville Park. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and participants will be on the water by 10 a.m.

Other host cites in the region include Mullens in Wyoming County, Gilbert in Mingo County, Ned’s Branch in Logan County and Branchland Park in Lincoln County. Registration and put-in times are uniform in all five locations.

Bailey said the idea for the inaugural Guyandotte River Regatta and Float stems from similar events held in Lincoln County that have been successful in past years. Event sponsor National Coal Heritage Area Authority is hoping for 200 participants for this year’s regatta and float.

Participants will be required to register and sign a liability waiver at each location. The recommended age for participation is 8 years and older. Participants will be required to wear a Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD) while participating; a limited number will be available during registration.

In the event of high water or extreme weather, July 21 and July 28 have been designated as makeup days for the Guyandotte River Regatta and Float. Bailey said those who register in advance will be updated through the event’s Facebook page. A final decision will be made the morning before the float is scheduled to take place.

The event is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is open until July 11, but participants can register the day of the float.

For more information, visit www.guyandottewatertrail.com.

Follow reporter Luke Creasy at Facebook.com/creasyHD or on Twitter @lewk_creasy.

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