Seeking revenues in the right streams
Tourism, Recreation Dollars Constantly Flowing Right Past Us in
Morgantown Dominion Post Editorial
31 December 2012
The buzz about the fiscal cliff is starting to sound like the roar
of a fiscal waterfall.
Both major political parties have never needed advice on spending
public funds. The only difference between them is that some
members of one or the other might feel guilty about it. But
whether the impact of such spending results in a trickle-down
effect or a rising tide floating all boats, revenue streams often
are left to meander in still waters.
That’s until either public support or private entreaties convince
governments that a source of untapped revenue may be flowing right
by their eyes.
One example of a source for such potential revenue in our region
is the waterways. Though most rivers are no longer commercially
booming, they’re still a constant source of tourism and recreation
This month, the Monongalia County Commission deeded a 3-acre site
to the Mon River Trails Conservancy (MRTC). It will primarily be
used as a trail head with parking for Caperton Trail users and a
slide for putting smaller boats into the Monongahela River.
No, this move will not be a boon to Star City or the greater
Morgantown area’s tax or business revenues. However, our region’s
network of rail trails and providing for boaters’ access to the
river have been.
Scheduled events such as 5K runs and bass tournaments have been
vital to development and growth, adding to the attraction these
trails and waterways have for newcomers relocating here.
Another initiative that holds out such potential is a project to
market the Cheat River as a water trail for boaters of all
abilities. The idea is to develop 11 access sites along the Cheat
in both Preston and Tucker counties, so boaters, fishermen,
kayakers and others know where they can easily enter and exit the
However, so far the group piloting this project — the Friends of
the Cheat (FOC) — has yet to meet any big wave of support.
The Preston County Commission has passed a resolution to support
the designation of the Cheat River as a water trail system. And
the Greater Morgantown Visitors and Convention Bureau awarded the
group a $5,000 grant to promote the project. But neither county
has committed any money to the project, and the state’s
designation for this idea has yet to surface.
Still, FOC remains undaunted and is continuing to pursue plans for
Will tourism and recreation ever be a suitable substitute for the
loss of jobs and severance taxes from extraction industries?
Yet, rail trails and water trails can still help blaze a path to
balancing budgets in the future.