Support WV Rivers Coalition This Giving Tuesday

Reflections of a Raft Guide: From River Rat to River Advocate

Greetings, friends!

It is hard to believe that it has been close to eighteen years, but I still remember the very first rafting trip I took down the Shenandoah River like it was yesterday. As someone who had only been tubing once before, the idea of training to be a raft guide seemed to be a bit out of my wheelhouse; nonetheless, it was an exciting adventure that I found myself unexplainably enthralled by.

It didn’t take long before I was completely submerged in the whitewater community and lifestyle. Within three months, I was hooked: barefoot, barely showering, and stomping to some good bluegrass. The river and the surrounding community had truly taken hold of me, and almost twenty years later, it has yet to let go.

Crys guiding the waves of Big Nasty on her checkout trip down the mighty Cheat Canyon in Albright, West Virginia.

Reflecting on some of my earlier river days, like when I guided my first commercial raft down the Cheat Canyon, it’s funny to think about how much things have changed, as well as, how much they have not changed at all. But reflecting on my story and hearing so many others like it, a common theme starts to appear. While we may have gotten here in different fashions, we all tend to stay for the same reasons.

The wild and wonderful nature of West Virginia is something to behold. From its majestic mountains to its entangled rivers and streams, you can explore Mountain Momma for a lifetime and never tire of the adventures. And once you experience these adventures and explore these striking landscapes, it is difficult to be the person you were before. It is difficult to ignore the magnificence of the Mountain State. It is also difficult to ignore the dire protections West Virginia needs to ensure the wild and wonderful that we love is around for others to enjoy in the future.

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition stands at the forefront of the mission to conserve and protect West Virginia’s exceptional rivers and streams. Moving into 2024, we have important work ahead of us. From improving water policy to ensure the best protection of drinking water sources to advocating for the preservation of our headwater streams — there is a lot more we have to do together.

Looking back upstream to Wonder Falls on the Big Sandy after a successful descent.

In order to protect rivers from the Shenandoah to the Ohio, and every river and stream in between, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition team will continue to focus on tackling critical issues such as blue hydrogen buildout and above-ground storage tank regulations, which directly affect the health and well-being of our rivers. Your support will enable us to advocate for stronger policies, conduct research, and engage in community outreach to protect these vital waterways.

Today, please consider supporting the West Virginia Rivers Coalition mission again by donating in this season of giving. I know that, like me, you have had a similar experience with the exceptional waterways of West Virginia. And because of your previous support of our efforts, you have been instrumental in driving forward positive change for West Virginia’s rivers and the communities that depend on them.

With your help, we can continue to make a lasting impact. By making a donation this Giving Tuesday, you will be joining us in our mission to safeguard West Virginia’s rivers for future generations. No amount is too small — every contribution makes a difference. Here are some examples of what your gift can help accomplish:

$50 will help provide educational materials about river conservation

$100 will help support grassroots advocacy efforts at the state legislature and beyond

$250 will help contribute to essential water quality monitoring efforts in local watersheds

$500 will help protect our waters from the headwaters downstream

A clean water future is possible, and together, we will ensure clean and reliable water is a reality for every community in West Virginia. Thank you for making a difference today.

If you have any questions or would like more information about specific projects or initiatives, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

For clean water and healthy communities,

Crys Bauer
Membership Coordinator, WV Rivers Coalition

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