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Come to Play, Stay to live!
West Virginia offers Boundless Outdoor Activities

By Eric Pories, WV Professional River Outfitters Association

My story is the same as many. We are not local and could never claim the title; local pride runs deep. Locals have pride in a title reserved for only those that were born and raised in this region. Raised by the families that settled and worked the land, coal mines, and businesses that originally developed our region.

I am not a local but I do live here proudly. Like many before me the awe, power, and excitement of our rivers first brought me to the area. Working for one of the regions many outfitters provided the means to live and play here. And play is the name of the game for all residents of the area whether local, seasonal, or a transplant like myself. We take full advantage of the natural resources out our front door. We hunt and fish on large tracts of private and public lands. Actually our three National Rivers, the New River Gorge National River, Gauley River National Recreation Area, and Bluestone National Scenic River, are a few of the only National Parks in the country that allow both hunting and fishing within their boundaries.
We raft and kayak. Our area is known as America’s Best Whitewater…and we would love the opportunity to prove it to you. 18 commercial rafting outfitters provide high quality rafting experiences within our National River boundaries for all levels of desired experience. Our community benefits from over $40 million annually in economic impact and jobs created from the rafting industry alone. The New and Gauley Rivers are recognized throughout the world as world-class whitewater rivers providing for over 200,000 rafting participants each year.

We mountain bike and rock climb. Complimenting Americas Best Whitewater is some of Americas Best Rock Climbing and Mountain Biking. If you’re a climber the name New River Gorge evokes images of long sandstone crags, with easy access, all on the rim of a breathtaking gorge. While Summersville Lake, the largest lake in the state provides steep sport routes along its banks with quick access to a refreshing post climb swim. Mountain biker’s benefit from constantly developing trail systems throughout our parks. Trails have been developed for all skill levels from beginner to trails for the most experienced
riders only.
We hike, camp, ride horses, and ATV’s. Some refer to our region as Outdoors Unlimited, a very fitting description for our regions recreation opportunities. That’s why I moved here and happy to say I live here. Many of the business owners and residents you come across will have a story similar to mine. We came to play and quickly fell in love with the quality of life this region has to offer. Perhaps you are looking for a community with boundless outdoor activities, one of the lowest crime rates in the country, rural but so close to larger communities, with people who quickly become your friends. Come to play…stay to live with us! • www.westvirginiaoutfitters.org