By Bob Fala
For the Daily News
LOGAN - A varied but motivated group met at Logan Tuesday with one thing on their mind. That is, promoting the highly under-utilized fishing, boating, tubing and other recreational opportunities afforded by the Guyandotte River. Traversing 40 miles through the heart of Logan County, per its administrator Rocky Adkins, the group vowed to make the waterway much better known hereafter.
With interest ignited by and mapping provided by John Fekete of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail Group, he inquired about upgrading and promoting the existing boating launch points, of which there are several and/or adding some new ones at strategic locations. John, who also doubles on the Town of Man City council, stated that folks need some additional attractions over and above the trails. From both of these entities, he offered enthusiastic support.
If the 40 to 50,000 Hatfeld-McCoy ATV Trail pass holders stayed one more day to trout fish Buffalo Creek, like many of them have been, just think if we could augment that with the fine warm-water fishing and boating offered by the Guyandotte River. The Guyandotte opportunities exist at present but many folks just flat out may not be aware of them.
Aptly calling the county’s center piece riverine waterway a “diamond in the rough,” State Senator Art Kirkendoll added his long term institutional knowledge to the discussion. He offered that: first the additional boat launch sites must be selected; secondly, funding must be addressed and third, long term management and maintenance of the sites must be addressed.
Danny Godby of the Logan County Commission, Debrina Williams of the Coalfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and House of Delegate Member, Rupie Phillips offered their support as well. Also on board for the meeting were Perry Harvey of the Buffalo Creek Watershed Association and Chris White of Appalachian Stream Restoration. The Guyandotte River Group was hoping a little of that Buffalo Creek Watershed and stream restoration success could be extended a little further down river, literally rubbing off on the new vision, so to speak.
WVDNR Commissioner Ken Wilson pledged his support and its Chief of Wildlife, Curtis Taylor added input via conference call citing the Wallop-Breaux federal excise tax state grant funds on boating fuels can in part be available for such amenities. West Virginia DNR and Highways have always cooperated with boating access points, the several existing sites in testament thereof.
However, with high waters and recent construction activities, some of the sites could use a little upkeep or new signage. To dovetail nicely with the ATV Trail System, new or enhanced boat launches at or near Gilbert, Man and Logan would do well.
The next step agreed upon was to conduct a group tour of prospective sites with all the parties on board. Ultimately some new boat launches and enhancement of the existing sites should result when varied parties of this magnitude get together with common goals in mind.