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Whitewater Rafting Season Concludes

Gauley River National Recreation Area

National Park News

The fall whitewater season on the Gauley River has concluded, with rangers logging responses to numerous EMS and search and rescue incidents. Ranger Charles Mitchum assisted in the evacuation of a rafter with a dislocated shoulder and broken nose and a rafter with head and neck injuries. Ranger Randy Fisher investigated a drowning and assisted with an elbow dislocation during the annual Gauley downriver race. River ranger Bryan Hunter provided EMS to a raft guide who suffered a mild heart attack during his trip. The raft guide was evacuated and transported to a hospital. River rangers conducted numerous rescues of accidental swimmers and visitors on pinned rafts and recovered an array of lost equipment.  Summersville Reservoir is a center for powerboat recreation during the summer months and at the end of the season the Army Corp of Engineers must lower the lake by 75 feet to make room for next spring's floods. The dependable flows from this fall drawdown attract thousands of paddlers to one of the country's most popular runs on the Class V Gauley River. These scheduled releases begin on the first Friday after Labor Day and continue every weekend for five weeks.  According to American Whitewater, a whitewater rafting organization, the rapids on the Gauley – Pillow Rock, Insignificant, Lost Paddle, Iron Ring, and Sweet's Falls – are world famous and deserve their notoriety. They are big, steep, demanding, and can have severe consequences for the paddler in the wrong place.



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