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July 2019

Pedal boats, rafting and scuba diving – in the mountains? Yes – Inside the Appalachians

By Scuba diving

For many people in the Appalachians, lakes, rivers, and streams are the first places we swam, played in the water, or caught crawdads. For many adults, our streams are some of the best places to get out and cool off in the summer. We have rafting, swimming, boating, and even scuba diving to choose from (yes, scuba diving, you read that right.)

We know that sometimes you want to go back and listen to individual stories. Here are links to four stories from this episode.


Just about any search on the web for “the best whitewater rafting” or “the most dangerous whitewater rafting” includes West Virginia. Each year, approximately 150,000 people go commercial rafting on a West Virginia river, most of them on the New and Gauley rivers, which flow through Fayetteville, West Virginia.

Our Folklife reporter Caitlin Tan spent a day with river guides on the New River.

Diving in Summersville

Summersville Lake in Nicholas and Fayette Counties, West Virginia, was built in 1966 as part of a flood control project and is now a popular spot for water recreation, paddlers, climbers. and motor boat operators. But have you ever thought about scuba diving there?

Our associate producer Eric Douglas is a diver. He recently visited Lake Summersville and took his recorder with him on a dive below the surface of one of the clearest mountain lakes in the Appalachians.

If you’ve ever wondered what the lake looks like below the surface, here’s a short video of Eric’s dive parts.

What’s in a Name – The New River

Some people claim that the New River is over a billion years old. But it turns out that’s not true. According to Steve Kite, a geologist at the University of West Virginia, there are rocks in the New River drainage that are a billion years old, but that doesn’t mean the river is a billion years old. Geologists are not sure how old the river is. Kite says he could be 320 million years old or 3 million years old.

In this episode, we’ll learn more about the geology of the New River and how it got its name.

Garbage in water

It is not difficult to find abandoned campsites along rivers, often littered with garbage. And rainy weather can easily drag these leftovers, teddy bears, sleeping bags, and even drug paraphernalia like dirty syringe needles, into waterways, contaminating river ecosystems and posing a risk to life. human health.

In this episode, we’re going to learn about a man from Morgantown, West Virginia, who took it upon himself to load his bike and use a grapple and a powerful magnet to clean up trash along the Monongahela River.

Rear wheel river boats

The sight and sound of a paddle steamer might remind you of a bygone era. But for some people, it is still a part of life today. There is a community on the rivers of the central Appalachian Mountains that strives to preserve this history of the boat.

Eric Douglas takes us on a trip on the Kanawha and Ohio rivers to find out more.

History of Bluestone Lake

In the central Appalachians, there are more than 30 man-made lakes, built and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. In the United States, there are more than 700 artificial lakes created by dams. Some of these lakes were built to prevent flooding in populated areas while others were built to create recreational activities. Jessica Lilly discusses her own roots in the destroyed Bluestone Lake town of Lilly in this episode. You can also listen to an earlier episode of Inside Appalachia that delves into the history of man-made flood control lakes throughout the region.

Controversy and mystery still surround the lakes built by the Army Corps of Engineers


We had some help producing Inside Appalachia this week from The Allegheny Front. Music for today’s show was provided by Dinosaur Burps, Spencer Elliot, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tina Turner and Ben Townsend.

Roxy Todd is our producer. Eric Douglas is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Jesse Wright. He also edited our show this week. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. You can find us online on Twitter @InAppalachia.

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