Lock Agreement to Make Monongahela River More Accessible
Washington PA Observer-Reporter
22 May 2015
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Boaters can travel the Upper Monongahela River
without hindrance for the first time in several years.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed to reopen the Opekiska and
Hildebrand locks for recreational use. The locks will be open from
7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends for a total of 18 days during the
The corps also opened the Morgantown Lock on weekends.
The agreement between the corps, the Upper Monongahela River
Association and the Monongalia County Commission will make the
river more accessible, The Dominion Post reported.
The corps closed the Opekiska and Hildebrand locks to recreational
use in 2012 because of budget cuts. The Morgantown Lock previously
was closed on weekends.
“I’m so excited, I can’t stand it,” Lana Smith of Fairmont told
the newspaper. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a long
Smith lives along the Tygart Valley River, which feeds into the
Monongahela River. She said she and her husband, Chad, own a
pontoon boat, two WaveRunners and three ski boats.
“I hope someday they can get some kind of privatization in there
and have a lock master there at all times, but I don’t know if
that will happen,” she said.
Opening the locks on the weekends provides an opportunity to hold
fishing tournaments. Hundreds of bass tournaments are held across
the state but none are on the Upper Monongahela River, said Barry
Pallay, president of the river association.
“One multi-state bass tournament, and we plan to have at least one
this summer, can bring $80,000 to the region,” he said.
A coalition of local entities contributed $36,000 to keep the
locks open during the summer, Pallay said. They include the
Monongalia and Marion county commissions, the Monongalia County
Development Authority, Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, Marion
County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Morgantown
Convention and Visitors Bureau, Granville, Westover and
The first weekend opening of the locks under the agreement
occurred last Saturday and Sunday.