The State of West Virginia is aptly nicknamed “the Mountain State”. West Virginia, in its entirety, is located in the Appalachian Mountain Range. There aren’t beaches in West Virginia. Rather, locals and visitors jump into rivers, streams, swimming holes, and lakes. Recreational water activities often involve a hike, or a paddle.
The Cheat and the Shenandoah are just a few of the iconic rivers that run through this beautiful state. Paddling is the most popular water activity in West Virginia, and the state is a hotspot for whitewater rafting. River floating and stand-up-paddle boarding are also quite popular. The state’s waterbodies also offer ample fishing and hiking activities. Swimming is often part of a larger adventure, to cool off while paddling or camping.
Despite it’s beauty and abundance of nature-based activities we can’t talk about West Virginia without mentioning mining, and the impact the industry has had on the state’s waterways. Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is of particular concern. (AMD occurs when water, oxygen, and bacteria come into contact with pyrite.) Runoff and wastewater from abandoned and active mines have had negative impacts on the water quality of West Virginia’s lakes, rivers, and streams. Organizations like Friends of the Cheat and Shenandoah Riverkeeper are working to protect and restore waterbodies in West Virginia so that future generations can swim, drink, and fish.
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