August 18, 2004

The Honorable Alan B. Mollohan
US Congressman
2302 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Mollohan:

As you know, our Upper Mon Locks at Hildebrand and Opekiska are now open only from 12:30 PM to 8:20 PM Saturday, Sundays, and holidays during the recreational boating season. The Morgantown lock opens 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM weekdays, switches to the hours for Hildebrand and Opekiska on weekends and holidays.

We appreciate that the Pittsburgh District of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has made this concession for recreational boating, given the Corps massive budget problems. However, this schedule just kills recreational boating on the Upper Mon in West Virginia!

We propose an Interim Solution for Upper Mon recreational boating lock hours. We would like to see this solution in effect until such time as our three locks are restored to 24/7 operations, either through implementation of your initiative for remote operation of our three locks from the Point Marion lock, or by funding sufficient to staff our locks with lock operators.

We would like to have our three locks open, from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Fridays Saturdays, Sundays and holidays during the May 1 - October 31 recreational boating season.

Doing so will encourage recreational boaters to travel the Upper Mon from Point Marion to Fairmont on weekends. It would also permit continuation of efforts to pursue economic development of the Upper Mon for recreational boating and related recreations.

We understand that the Pittsburgh District budgets a lock operation at $100K/year for salary and overhead. Thus, the Interim Schedule we propose costs about $60K/year above current operations. And, even if we round this figure up to $100K/year to include other operating costs, the cost of this Interim Solution is minimal.

We ask that you help bring about our proposed Interim Solution for Upper Mon in West Virginia recreational boating hours.