Morgantown Summer 2021 Edition

SHREDDING IT IN CENTRAL APPALACHIA Morgantown rivals some of the best outdoor towns in the country for access to high-octane adventures. Whitewater River Density of the Continental US

WEST VIRGINIA HAS THE HIGHEST DENSITY OF WHITE WATER INTHE COUNTRY. .

River density* (miles/sq. mile)

Very Low

Low

Higher

* River density is calculated as the mileage of whitewater rivers per square mile radius for every location in the continental US. This map was created by mapping all whitewater runs listed in the American Whitewater (AW) National Whitewater Inventory (NWI). We are grateful to AW for providing NWI data.

Highest

Esri, HERE, Garmin, NGA, USGS, NPS Suggested Citation: Zegre, N., Strager, J., Strager M., Shafer, M., Kinder, P., Twilley, D., Corio, G. (2020). Whitewater Resources of the Continental United States-River Density. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.33281.89444 Contact - nicolas.zegre@mail.wvu.edu

large-scale asset-mapping effort to character- ize and compare the access that residents of cities across the U.S. have to exciting outdoor recreation experiences. “We were thinking, younger people are valuing experiences over things, and they’re considering where they live first before they consider their job,” says the Smith OEDC’s Twilley—this was pre-pandemic, pre–Zoom boom, but timely. “How do we incorporate outdoor recreation into their lives? Instead of, ‘I go there once a year,’ how can it be, ‘I do this during my lunch break,’ or after work, or on the weekend? We started looking at what was within 30, 60, 90 minutes’ drive of places—and that’s when we realized how much we had in close proximity right here.” For Morgantown, the data showed that we sit as close to as many paddling runs, climbing routes, and biking trails as places that might surprise you. “So, if you’re in Denver, you have to drive an hour to get to the good stuff,” Twilley

says. “Asheville, it’s one of the iconic outdoor towns—and when you compare our outdoor resources to theirs, we can compete at a very high level.” From Morgantown, a quick drive gets pad- dlers to dozens of runs, and an hour and a half reaches nearly 100. Did you know we’re a rock climbing powerhouse? Climbers have 1,200 climbing routes and boulder problems within an hour’s drive and 1,400 within an hour and a half, a lifetime of challenges. And mountain bikers can find 100 trails close to home and 200 just a little farther out. It’s a whole new lens on Morgantown’s natural assets—what we have, recre- ation-wise, and what we can develop. “You can’t build rock. You can’t build whitewater,” Twilley says. “A lot of other places don’t have the rock, don’t have the whitewater, so they’ve had to build trails. We have trails, too, and we can build more.” The Smith OEDC has already hired a renowned trail builder to do just that (see sidebar).

NATURAL RESOURCE ANALYSIS CENTER WVU MOUNTAIN HYDROLOGY LAB

1,198 Morgantown

665 Asheville, NC

CLIMBING ROUTES WITHIN 60 MINUTES

Knoxville, TN 77

24 MORGANTOWN SUMMER 2021

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