Looking for cash
Cheat River Trail Proponents Seek County’s Aid
Morgantown Dominion Post
15 October 2012
By Michelle Wolford
KINGWOOD — Volunteers working on a Cheat River water trail have
applied for state recognition, which they hope will open the door
to grant money. They’d also like some county help.
Amanda Pitzer, executive director of Friends of the Cheat (FOC),
said volunteers have been meeting for much of the year “on
designating sections as a water trail — a trail for boats.” She
addressed Preston County Commissioners recently and asked them to
endorse the new initiative.
She said FOC will also meet with Tucker County commissioners since
the trail begins above Parsons.
The goal is state and national designation, she said, and funding.
That requires proof of local support.
Preston County Commissioners will consider a resolution to support
the designation of the Cheat River Water Trail System at their
meeting at 9:30 a.m. today.
“If the county would commit some money to this project, it would
be a boon to us in getting funds from other entities,” Pitzer
said. “To get both commissions engaged will go a long way in
moving the project forward.”
The U.S. Department of the Interior recently established the
National Water Trails System — a class of recreation trails under
the National Trails System Act of 1968. Such a designation
acknowledges recreational value, “but also the excellent
stewardship of the state, local communities and other partners who
maintain their natural beauty and integrity,” according to FOC’s
application to the state for designation.
State designation opens the door to grant funding through the
Department of Transportation. That money could go toward signage
and maps of the water trail, and other means of encouraging
tourism. Pitzer said she hopes to have signs up by spring.
“The river is there and you can go paddle it now, but we want
signage and we want to market it and that’s going to take some
money,” she said.
“We don’t want to tell people what they can or can’t do with their
land,” she said.
Copies of the committee’s draft designation document, which has
been submitted and accepted by the West Virginia Recreational
Trails Advisory Board, is posted at the Preston County Commission
The initial trail runs from Hendricks, above Parsons in Tucker
County, to the Rowlesburg Park, a distance of 38.1 miles. Nine
access points have been identified thus far; seven are in Tucker
Public meetings are being planned to encourage support for the
water trail and allow for community input. She said FOC is working
with private landowners on some of the access points.
“A water trail on the Cheat River will allow individuals of
limited paddling abilities to experience one of West Virginia’s
most scenic rivers,” said Frank Jernejcic, District Fishery
Biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, in
“The Cheat is a gem and it’s underutilized,” Pitzer said. “We want
to show people the river is more than whitewater.” County
Courthouse, Kingwood City Hall; Kingwood Public Library,
Rowlesburg Town Hall, Rowlesburg Post Office and Albright Town
The document is available online at http://www.cheatriverwatertrail.org