August 16, 2004
Congressman Alan B. Mollohan
2302 Rayburn House Office
Washington DC 20515
RE: Interim Solution Upper Mon Lock
Dear Congressman Mollohan,
With this letter, the Mon River Trails Conservancy (MRTC) is lending its support to the Interim Solution for recreational boating on the Upper Monongahela River proposed by the Upper Monongahela River Association. As proposed, MRTC 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 need your help in this proposal to have the three locks open from 6AM to 10PM on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, during the 1 May - 31 October 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 by the Mon River VISION 2020 Recreation Committee, Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, and, others, to pursue economic development of the Upper Mon for recreational boating and related recreations.
The Mon River Trails Conservancy (MRTC) is a non-profit 501 c3 organization founded in 1991 to develop and manage a 51-mile rail-trail in North Central West Virginia. Currently, 46 miles of trail are complete and maintained for non-motorized use, such as walking, jogging, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and birding. Thirty-one of these miles parallel the Upper Monongahela River in Monongalia and Marion Counties.
In and around Morgantown, public investments in recreational projects have led to large public and private investments in economic development. In the last decade, Morgantown, Monongalia County, foundations and private donors have spent approximately $4 million on riverfront projects, including the development of the rail-trail. These investments have spurred private commitments and investments of over $200 million for a hotel conference center, two large office buildings, a public theatre building, and renovation of additional buildings in Morgantown's "Wharf District." This development is all occurring on riverfront land.
The Mon River Trails Conservancy endorses the Interim Solution and recognizes the value of having a variety of recreational opportunities to draw tourists to a region and keep them for longer stretches of time. Keeping the locks open with day, evening, and weekend hours is important to meeting "the needs of recreational users on the river, and on the importance of all such river uses to the economic well-being and development of communities and regions bounding the river."