Van Voorhis Trailhead Open to Public
Morgantown Dominion Post
7 July 2016
By Ann Kennell
The new kayak/canoe launch is open for the public at the Van
On Wednesday evening, there was a ribbon-cutting for the launch,
near Mile 4 of the Mon River Rail-Trail and River Mile 95.1 of the
Upper Monongahela River Water Trail.
Mon River Trails Conservancy (MRTC) and the Morgantown Area
Paddlers (MAP) have worked hard on completing the launch for the
last few years. Ella Belling, executive director of MRTC, couldn’t
be happier to see the launch finally open.
“It’s been nine years of continual effort. There used to be a
glass factory here, and it took a lot of effort to get it to be
safe place for people.” Belling said.
Mary Wimmer, known as the fundraising launch superstar within her
group, and the MAP organizer, along with the MRTC, raised over
$40,000 within a year to finish the launch site.
“This has been an amazing trip. I have found my original notes
from last year when we started the final push for fundraising and
we did it,” Wimmer said. “Now, we get to use it and it is just
wonderful to see.”
Along with the new launch, the trailhead was upgraded with
restrooms, a 30-car parking lot, trailhead signs and a bulletin
case for the rail-trail.
“Getting more West Virginians outside and exercising is great, ”
Wimmer said, “This is really nice exercise, so we are hoping to
get lots more people out.”
Both Wimmer and Belling recognize that without the support of the
community and other partners, the new launch site would never have
“Very diverse support we got. Everything from Rotaries to
businesses. It has just been a great diversity of support.” Wimmer
Tips for using the launch:
- During the put-in and take-out, tuck your paddle down
into the boat and it will not get in the way as you pull
yourself along the rails.
- During take-out, the front keel, if pronounced, can bump
into the second wheel that you will be rolling the boat over
as you exit the water. We found that if you get a running
start pulling yourself up by the railings, and lean back a
bit, the front end goes over that wheel (and the other wheels)