Upper Monongahela River Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 519
Granville, WV 26534-0519

Tuesday 29 April 2003

RE: Support for Navigation Resolution


(1) Senator Rick Santorum, 202-224-6324, FAX 202-228-0604. Landmarks Building, Suite 250, 100 West Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15219, 412-562-0533 (Fax 4313).

(2) Senator Arlen Specter, 202-224-4254, FAX 202-228-1229. Suite 2031, Federal Building, Liberty Avenue and Grant Street, Pittsburgh PA 15222, 412-644-3400 (Fax 4871).

(3) Representative Mike Doyle, 202-225-2135 (Fax 3084). 627 Lysle Boulevard, McKeesport PA 15132, 412-664-4049 (Fax: 4053).

(4) Representative John Murtha, 202-225-2065 (Fax 5709). P. O. Box 780, Johnstown PA 15907-0780, 814-535-2642, FAX 814-539-6229.

(5) Representative Melissa Hart, 202-225-2565, FAX 202-226-2274. 4655 Route 8, Suite 124G, Coventry Square Shopping Center, Allison Park PA 15101, 412-492-0161 (fax 0178).

(6) Representative Tim Murphy, 202-225-2301 (Fax 1844). 504 Washington Road, Pittsburgh PA 15228, 412-344-5583, FAX 412-429-5092.

(7) Senator Robert C. Byrd, 202-224-3954, FAX 202-228-0002. 300 Virginia Street East, Suite 2630, Charleston WV 25301, 304-342-5855, FAX 304-343-7144.

(8) Senator Jay Rockefeller, 202-224-6472 (Fax 7665). 118 Adams Street, Suite 301, Fairmont WV 26554, 304-367-0122 (Fax 0822).

(9) Representative Alan B. Mollohan, 202-225-4172 (Fax 7564). P. O. Box 720, Morgantown WV 26507-0720, 304-292-3019 (Fax 3027).

(10) Representative Nick Rahall, 202-225-3452 (Fax 9061). 845 Fifth Avenue, Huntington WV 25701, 304-522-6425, FAX 304-529-5716.

(11) Representative Shelley Capito, 202-225-2711. 4815 MacCorkle Ave., SE, Charleston WV 25304, 304-925-5964, FAX 304-926-8912.

Dear Senators and Representatives:

This letter, the Navigation Resolution, and, the list of those supporting the Navigation Resolution, will be faxed to your Washington office.

The entire package, which includes the above, plus the letters of support for the Navigation Resolution, will be mailed to your district office. The treatment that mail to your Washington office receives due to the anthrax problem makes this perhaps the best choice, as the package is big.

The letters of support package starts with an article from this past Sunday's Dominion Post, followed by items from the latest issue of Anchors Aweigh magazine. Next are national and state level letters of support. The upper Mon region letters begin with those from the Fairmont WV area, the headwaters of the Monongahela, and, work their way north to Pittsburgh. The last item in the letters package is an email from Captain Mike Ferris, President, River Navigation Coalition, concerning the support they have lined up on the upper Allegheny.

I call your attention to the following letters, as they hit on the economic development aspect of our Navigation Resolution: (1) Platinum Properties; (2) Two Rivers Marina; (3) Green Space Coalition ; (4) Greater Morgantown Convention & Visitors Bureau; and, (5) Six & Plum Marina.

Recent bad news is that the lock hours situation on the upper Mon in WV, bad as it now is, will get worse in FY 2004. COL Raymond Scrocco, District Engineer, Pittsburgh District, US Army Corps of Engineers, met with Captain Mike and the River Navigation Coalition this past Friday. I will not go into cuts planned for the upper Allegheny. But, it appears that our Morgantown lock will be cut from 24/7 to day shift only. And, our Hildebrand and Opekiska locks, on day shift only since 1985, will virtually be shut down. These two locks apparently will be open only on Saturdays, Sundays, and, holidays, day shift only, during the recreational boating season (presumed to be 1 May - 31 October).

These drastic cuts in upper Mon lock hours will kill our efforts to attract long-range recreational tourist boaters to the upper Mon. Boaters will not venture south through the Morgantown lock to go to Fairmont, because they may not make it back through the three locks before 3:30PM. Further, long-range tourist boaters (folks with big boats and money!) who are out during the week, will not make the trip to our upper Mon.

These drastic cuts in lock hours also mean that there will be no incentive for business entrepreneurs to improve and increase the marina and other infrastructure needed to encourage long range tourist recreational boaters to visit our upper Mon. Ergo, economic development of our upper Mon river communities will suffer.

So, we are making progress in the wrong direction on upper Mon lock hours. The Morgantown lock should remain 24/7, and, Hildebrand and Opekiska should be open 24/7 during the recreational boating season.

These cuts fly in the face of our efforts to encourage recreational boating on the upper Mon. The Upper Mon Water Trails VISION 2020 committee, Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, meets this Friday. At this meeting we will see the gorgeous Upper Mon Water Trails brochure which is ready for distribution. And, we will hear about the impending $100K federal Boating Infrastructure Grant for the upper Mon. This grant will provide docks to encourage long-range tourist boaters to visit the upper Mon.

I also suggest you contact and join the Senate and Congressional Boating Caucuses. This list is included in the package I am mailing to you. But, the list can also be viewed at http://www.nmma.org/government/federal/bc.asp .

There are also others who could help here, although we have not yet been successful in gaining their attention and support. I suggest you contact BOATUS, Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Waterways Conference, and, States Organization for Boating Access.

We are quite pleased to have support from two national organizations, the American Sternwheel Association, and, United States Power Squadrons. Their letters are in the support package.

We ask that Congress grant recreational boating the recognition this activity deserves. This recognition would then permit the US Army Corps of Engineers to budget for recreational needs on our navigable waterways.

A final suggestion. Perhaps the budget for the Pittsburgh District could be made a line item appropriation that also spells out operating hours for locks on the upper Mon and upper Allegheny. Let's put a floor under the budget for the Pittsburgh District!!



Donald Strimbeck, Secretary
Upper Monongahela River Association, Inc.