Event promotes use of river trails
BARBOURSVILLE — It was picture perfect: A dozen or so kayaks, canoes and water boards slid into the Guyandotte River and drifted through the water, winding their way through Barboursville Park.
Barboursville was one of five locations participating in the inaugural Great Guyandotte River Regatta and Float on Saturday.
The regatta was held to encourage the use of the Guyandotte River for recreation and promote the Guyandotte Water Trail, a designated West Virginia water trail. a designated West Virginia water trail.
It was Phoebe Whitt and Aimee Roberts’ first time kayaking in the Guyandotte. The Huntington residents frequently kayak in the Greenbrier River, but they were excited to try out something closer to home.
“We’ve been wanting to do it for a while,” Roberts said. “I heard this is a good little trip. ... It’s great to have these types of outdoor venues you can do on the weekends.”
They said they love kayaking because it’s relaxing.
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.”
Other host cities in the region included Mullens in Wyoming County, Gilbert in Mingo County, Ned’s Branch in Logan County and Branchland Park in Lincoln County.
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.
The Guyandotte River, a tributary of the Ohio River, is formed in southwestern Raleigh County by the confluence of three streams, Winding Gulf, Stonecoal Creek and the Devils Fork. It is approximately 166 miles long.
To learn more about the river trail, visit www.guyandotte-watertrail.com.
Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.