TAYLOR COUNTY—For years, one local organization, who realizes the impact of clean waterways, has been hard at work to ensure the streams feeding into the Tygart River are healthier, ensuring a clean source of water for future generations.
Noting that clean waterways aren’t just good for local aquatic life but can also serve as a great tool for tourism and outdoor recreation, the Save the Tygart Watershed Association has planned a fun event for the whole family.
Join the association on Saturday, July 23 for a Fish and Float Festival, featuring casting demonstrations, fly -tying demonstrations, food trucks, watershed-themed educational opportunities and arts and crafts for all ages.
Those who wish to get out in the cool waters of the Tygart River can do so in various ways. Individuals who are competitive in nature can take part in a canoe and kayak race, while those who are more easy going can take a tranquil float down the river.
The canoe and kayak race will begin at the Save the Tygart’s Carr China property, located in Parkview, just up from the Tygart Dam. Participants will take to the waters and race downstream as fast as they can, ending at Valley Falls State Park.
During the fun float, being sponsored by the Adventure Club, lazy river tubes will leave from the city park. The duration and exit point of the float will be determined based on the flow of water the day of the event.
Race sign in will occur from 8:00-9:00 a.m., with the race kicking off at 9:30 a.m.
Registrations will be accepted until 8:30 a.m. on July 23, but those signing up before July 7 will receive an official race t-shirt.
To take part in the canoe and kayak race, participants will he required to pay a registration fee of $25. The cost to take a float down the river will be just $10 and individuals must register beforehand, as well.
Those wishing to sign up for either event may do so by visiting www.savethetygart.org/canoe-and-kayak-race.
Upon completion, individuals will be emailed additional details and payment instructions for your race registration. If completing in a doubles canoe, please indicate your partner’s name in the comment field of the form.
For those who would like to support the association and their festival, there are plenty of sponsorship opportunities available. All sponsors will receive their name and/or logo on the Save the Tygart Watershed Association’s website, as well as a link to their company website.
In addition, companies will also be given a shoutout on Facebook, and sponsor names will be added to event publicity. Each sponsorship level will also provide race entries and a corresponding number of race t-shirts.
The association is also seeking prizes for their fundraising raffle that will be held during the event. Donors of raffle sponsorship will be acknowledged at the raffle location.
For more information on sponsorship levels, please visit www.savethetygart.org and clink on the Event Sponsorship link on the drop-down menu under Festival.
All proceeds collected will benefit Save the Tygart’s mission to protect and enhance the Tygart Valley River Watershed.
“Come join us for a fun day on the water,” an association member urged. “It’ll be fun for the whole family!”
The primary goal of the Save the Tygart Watershed Association is to improve and protect the water quality of the Tygart Valley River and its tributaries.
“To accomplish this goal, we conduct periodic sampling and analysis of the Tygart Valley River,” shared member Paul Baker.
Their analysis includes information on temperature, flow, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, clarity, bacteria related to sewage and noting the amount of iron, aluminum and manganese, which are related to coal mine pollution.
Over the years, the association has worked to clean up tributaries to the Tygart that have been negatively affected by acid mine drainage and other pollution. These once “dead” streams could not sustain aquatic life, but through the work of the organization, they are once again thriving.
Three Fork Creek was once a stream with little to no hope of sustaining any kind of aquatic life, but once Save the Tygart got involved, all hope was not lost.
Through the association’s diligent efforts, limestone dosers were installed along the creek and limestone treatment units were used to better the water condition. Through years of hard work, Three Fork Creek is now on the mend, and now flourishes with several species of fish and insects.
“We are working on three streams right now, and we would like to continue that,” Baker revealed. “We are working on, of course, Three Fork Creek, Sandy Creek and Beaver Creek in Barbour County, as well as another project on Rory Creek in Randolph County.”
He noted that if the association could get the other creeks cleaned up, then the Tygart would flourish with fish and other aquatic life.
“Clean water is essential to a lot of things and is very important,” Baker said. “It can even aid in the growth of the county.”
To learn more about the Save the Tygart Watershed Association, please visit www.savethetygart.org.
For more information and updates about their Fish and Float Festival, be sure to log on to www.savethetygart.org/festival.