For the past 16 years, Friends of the Cheat has developed and maintained access to the Cheat Canyon and Big Sandy Rivers in Albright, Rockville, and Jenkinsburg through our Whitewater Access program. In 2006, Friends of the Cheat partnered with American Whitewater to lease the Jenkinsburg Access for 25 Years. We then raised $25,000 and arranged for a $15,000 match from the West Virginia DEP. We are now working closely with the West Virginia Land Trust, which took ownership of the land last Fall. In 2007, FOC partnered with Chesapeake Energy, who donated the land that was to become the Rockville Access on the Big Sandy. After a land swap with Allegheny Wood Products, the parking lot was improved.
In 2009, Friends of the Cheat began a decade-long project to stabilize and maintain the Rockville and Jenkinsburg Shuttle Roads. With state highway budgets cut to the bone, roads like this are simply ignored. The Whitewater Access Campaign is a long-term project We’ve raised over $150,000 to improve parking and maintain the roads used by river runners and hikers thanks to the generosity of hundreds of Cheat River Lovers just like you!
Although Bull Run Road on the Valley Point side survived the winter pretty well, there are a number of places that need to be fixed, including five blocked culverts, several stretches of washed out gutters, and some severe damage to the “S-Turn” just above the Jenkinsburg Bridge Parking Lot. The River Right access road is much improved to within 100 yards of the FOC Property, and that we will be working with a local landowner to improve the rough road on River Left.
FOC has already started work on this. We’ve filed the necessary paperwork with the Highway Department (they’ve agreed to donate 100 tons of stone) and made arrangements with our partners at Solid Rock Excavating to do the work. The only thing we need now is YOUR HELP. Our goal is $10,000, which thanks to many of you we’ve achieved year after year. All gifts are welcome.
Please help as much as you’re able. $100 renews your annual Friends of the Cheat membership; $300 will get you a 2022 Cheat River Festival T-Shirt* (please indicate your size in the “comments to seller” box in Paypal, or on the memo line of your check). *Cheat Fest shirts will ship after May 1st.
Video by Joel Wolpert
Each year, we lead off our Spring Whitewater Access Campaign in conjunction with our annual Cheat River Festival. The 2022 Cheat Fest is ON and in-person!! Join FOC and thousands of Cheat River supporters in Albright on May 6-7. Head over to cheatfest.org for all the details!
Cheat Fest is the river community’s pride and joy. While not only being a celebration, the event raises around $45,000 a year to support the basic organizational overhead of Friends of the Cheat. It “keeps the lights on” so to speak. Needless to say, this is a significant funding gap – and your donations are more important than ever to our staying ‘afloat.’
The Rockville Bridge remains closed after being shut down by DOH in August of 2020. Paddlers can use the road from Pisgah to reach the FOC public access point – but fair warning – the road is in bad shape. Only 4-wheel drive vehicles with a generous clearing should attempt this.
In 2020, the West Virginia Land Trust (WVLT) acquired the Jenkinsburg Recreation Area, securing and protecting it for future river and trail public access. FOC will continue to manage the area in partnership with WVLT – and assist in future improvements.
Let’s get ‘er done now – Please press the donate button! Thank you for your continued support!