Results are reported from an assessment of whitewater river recreation impacts at river accesses and recreation sites along five West Virginia rivers: the New, Gauley, Cheat, Tygart, and Shenandoah. Procedures were developed and applied to assess resource conditions on 24 river access roads, 68 river accesses, and 151 recreation sites. The majority of river accesses and recreation sites are located on the New and Gauley rivers, which account for most of the state?s whitewater recreation use. Site conditions are variable. While some river accesses and sites are situated on resistant rocky substrates, many are poorly designed and/or located on erodible soil and sand substrates. Recreation site sizes and other areal measures of site disturbance are quite large, coincident with the large group sizes associated with commercially outfitted whitewater rafting trips. Recommendations are offered for managing river accesses and sites and whitewater visitation and the selection of indicators and standards as part of a Limits of Acceptable Change management process. Procedures and recommendations for continued visitor impact monitoring are also offered.
Additional publication details
A survey of whitewater recreation impacts along five West Virginia rivers
U. S. Department of Interior, Geological Survey, Virginia Tech Cooperative Park Studies Unit