“The Big Coal River was alive with kayaks, canoes and just about anything that would float,” says Teresa Perdue the primary organizer of the Annual Kevin’s Lazy River Adventure. The Big Coal River float trip is a community-sponsored event that each year draws more and more visitors to the Racine, Ashford region.
Tourists, who have started to join the group during the past 4 years, experience an old-fashioned West Virginia welcome by over 50 volunteers who help organize, cook, and look after the safety of everyone.
The 2012 float organizers almost cancelled the event due to the extreme rains which fell on Thursday before the Saturday float. “We would never put anyone in harm’s way,” says Perdue, “Fortunately the river levels dropped quickly and on Saturday the river, although still muddy from the rain, was at a safe level and the 10.5 mile trip was on.
The float event is organized by the local community with help from the Big Coal River Branch members who are a committee of the Coal River Group. “The CRG is an 8 year old non-profit group made up of local citizens who are devoted to restoring the Coal Rivers and bringing new recreational opportunities to our region,” notes Perdue.
Saturday’s float trip included visitors from 5 different states and many first time paddlers from Charleston and the surrounding larger cities.
The float started at the John Slack Park located along Rt.3 at Racine, West Virginia. The Boone County EMS provided safety support all along the river route, the Racine VFD provided a tanker truck to help clean off the silt build up on the launch ramp and the Boone County Parks and Recreation Commission provided support and the use of the new park located at the finish line at Dartmont, WV. Although the event is free, every paddler’s name is taken and a waterproof number is provided to help keep track of each boat. The 10.5 mile river course is a very safe section of the river, however, the organizers are committed to tracking each boat and EMS paddlers follow the group as they go downstream.
The event is not a fund raiser but commemorative T shirts are sold each year to help defray the expenses for the huge family picnic, which is prepared by the Boone County group of wonderful cooks. The Float is just another way to get people on the river so that they can appreciate its beauty and the need to keep it clean,” says Perdue. The CRG has done a great job over the years and the thousands of people they have encouraged to paddle the rivers have found that once an individual sees the river, helps in a cleanup or catches a fish they will become supporters of the effort to restore all the rivers and streams.
Corporate and local business sponsors of this year’s event included: B & M Oil Company, Coal River Energy, Daniel Chevrolet-Buick Inc., Penn Virginia Company and Whitesville State Bank.
For more information about the Coal River Group and the Big Coal River Branch go to www.coalrivergroup