Associated Press Published

Whitewater Rafting Traffic Down Last Year

Whiterwater Rafting Gauley River

West Virginia’s whitewater rafting industry saw a 2.3 percent drop in visitors last year compared with 2015.Whiterwater Rafting Gauley River

State Division of Natural Resources figures show traffic on the New, Gauley and other West Virginia rivers totaled 131,028 customers in 2016, down 3,054 customers from the year before.

The New and Gauley rivers in southern West Virginia get the majority of the state’s whitewater business. Customers there dropped 4.5 percent to 100,312 last year. Dave Arnold of outfitter Adventures on the Gorge says the decrease was due to devastating flooding that hit the state in late June.

Mirroring downturns in the travel and leisure industries that followed the 2001 terrorist attacks, West Virginia rafting companies have struggled to approach the peak season of 1995, when there were more than 257,000 visitors.