“A water trail is a route on a stream, river or lake that provides boaters with a recreational, scenic, historical, or educational opportunity”. This definition, from the West Virginia Recreational Trail Advisory Board (WVRTAB), is the basis for designation of flat water trails throughout the state. The WVRTAB recognizes the increasing popularity of water sports, especially paddle sports on the lakes and streams of the West Virginia and currently there are nine designated water trails.
A request for designation of Summersville Lake as a WV Water Trail has been prepared and submitted by Ray Moeller, West Virginia State University Community Development Extension Agent in Nicholas County. “We are excited to have submitted this request, as Summersville Lake would be the first lake in West Virginia to be designated as a water trail” says Moeller. “Achieving this designation will place the lake on web sites and trail maps that point paddlers to venues of choice throughout the state”.
The primary sponsor for the designation is the Army Corps of Engineers, who will oversee and maintain the water trail as part of ongoing lake management operations. Those listed as co-sponsors for the designation are the City of Summersville, Summersville CVB, Nicholas County Commission, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, and Active Southern West Virginia.
From the Water Trail Designation request: “Summersville Lake offers abundant recreational opportunities, including fishing, scuba diving, canoe / kayak / stand up paddle boarding, swimming, boating, and more. The lake has extensive and multiple no-wake zones to assure miles of flat water activity without disruption. Summersville Lake is the largest lake in West Virginia covering 2,700 acres with over 60 miles of shoreline. The lake is maintained at a depth that will allow all manner of access. The no-wake zones comprise at least 1/2 of the lake surface, with the remaining surfaces easily navigable. There are no rapids, shoals, or falls. There are six launch points distributed throughout the lake, each with parking and put-in access for light watercraft. Several are associated with boat ramps, campgrounds, and the like. No portaging is necessary at any point along the lake shoreline. The Army Corps provides oversight assuring appropriate maintenance of the access sites.”
In accordance with the procedure for designation, the water trail request will be available for citizen review and comment for two months at Summersville City Hall. All area residents are invited to review the two page request and provide additional input or response in writing. A public meeting to discuss the designation will be scheduled in August, at which additional feedback will be solicited. For more information about the Summersville Lake water trail designation, please contact Ray Moeller at 304-872-2881.