State adds, upgrades kayaking access on Elk River

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State adds, upgrades kayaking access on Elk River
The Elk River flows past Big Chimney eat miles above its mouth at Charleston. (Courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is upgrading public-access sites along the Elk River in Kanawha County and adding several new locations near Charleston where anglers and kayakers can put a boat into this popular waterway.

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Work is underway on new access sites at Clendenin and Big Chimney. Additionally, upgrades are being made to existing sites along the river, according to Governor Jim Justice.

"The Elk River is a resource unbelievable in beauty, fishing, kayaking and just enjoying a great day with your family, and it's coming to life for all of us here in West Virginia," Justice said.

"This is more great work by our DNR, and I thank them for continuing to help our state's tourism continue to expand."

  • In addition to building new access sites along the Elk River, the division will upgrade an existing site in Clendenin.
  • The agency will also close the access site at Blue Creek and build a larger, more accessible site upstream.
  • The current site at Mink Shoals will be closed so a new site across the river at Coonskin Park can be built.

The access improvements coincide with a burst of kayaking activity on the lower river upstream of the capital city and with the completion of the first sections of the new Elk River Trail State Park, a rail-trail that follows the river more than 70 miles.

Division Director Stephen McDaniel said the new facilities will increase access for anglers as well as kayakers.

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"With the growth of tourism in West Virginia, we really want to promote access to our rivers and streams, which is a huge part of our agency's mission, and these five brand new access sites are going to open up the Elk to a lot of people," McDaniel said.

"The Elk River is a place people have fished for many years and these improvements will make sure that people can keep doing that for years to come."

Each access site is located between four and six miles apart to spread out fishing pressure and make it easier for the division to perform maintenance in future years.

To learn more about public access sites along the Elk River and on other waterways in West Virginia, visit .


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