Robert L. Gall
Riverside Marine Co.
Route 1, Box 239
Maidsville WV 26541
May 27, 2000
The Honorable Senator Robert C. Byrd
311 Senate Hart Office Bldg.
Washington DC 20510
I am writing concerning the closure of the Hildebrand and Opekiska Locks on the Monongahela River south of Morgantown W.Va. As you know, because it was principally with your help, that they exist, there are millions of dollars invested.
The Corps of Engineers are now closing these locks for two shifts per day, unless needed by commercial traffic. This in effect shuts down the upper 25 miles of the water way, to pleasure boats, unless passage can be made during the hours between 8 am and 4pm, during the day.
As you know, the Monongahela River is simply an extension of the intercoastal water way which extends from New York to Brownsville Texas and the Corps of Engineers spends much time and money maintaining this waterway, its harbors, beaches, jettys, etc. In effect, our liquid superhighway.
As a small Marina owner I can attest to the fact that many people read about the beauty of the Mon river and travel great distances to enjoy it. Last year for instance, we had two families from the state of Washington haul their trailerable houseboats here and used the waterways to return to Kansas City Mo. It is common to have people transit from here to Florida or Texas. One customer made the complete circuit of the Eastern US via the Great Lakes and the Intercoastal waterways. Almost weekly boaters from the Pittsburgh area stop here because of the lack of ability to use the upper locks after 4pm.
What we are asking is that the upper Mon River is kept open at least two shifts per day from May 1 to October 30.
I am enclosing a letter published by the "Upper Monongahela Committee for Better Boating." This outlines the rationale for the needed congressional action to permit the Corps of Engineers to make this happen.
/s/ Robert L. Gall, Owner, Riverside Marine Co.