Gauley season 2020 ‘best since before 2016’

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Nearly a month ago, experts predicted that West Virginia tourism would increase in the near future, and it seems that Gauley season is proving just that.

With just one week under its belt, Ace Adventure Resort already expects the most active goalie season they’ve seen in recent years.

“It’s a cultural experience,”said marketing director Haynes Mansfield. “Folks kind of catch up with people that have been coming year after year, catch up with guides they rafted with throughout the years. Typically, we have a big festival called Gauley Fest in Summersville which brings the whole boating community together.”

This year, the season is a bit more important, as some of the regular season couldn’t happen due to the pandemic.

“It’s the best white water rafting we can offer all year round. From a business perspective, it’s also our last chance to really get some guests in and to bring in some additional revenue before we go into our quiet season.”

Luckily, adventure enthusiasts haven’t lost their sense of fun and flock to the area like never before.

“After we were able to reopen using the protocols that were required, our season turned out to be better than it has been since before 2016. Gauley season has been absolutely amazing from a revenue perspective, as well as the amount of people that are coming that have never been here before.”

Since local coronavirus numbers haven’t been the greatest, Ace Adventure Resort makes an extra effort to keep visitors safe

“We are following all the protocols that are requested by the state, which involves wearing masks, sanitation, things like that. Gauley Fest has shifted significantly. As I understand, they’re doing it virtually. Bbasically it’s going to be the same amount of fun, just with a little bit of distance all throughout the process.”

The first few weeks are nearly booked, but it’s not too late to reserve your spot on an upcoming trip.

“The good news is we have not sold out of tickets. The first three weekends are close to booked up if not booked up entirely, but if you jump online, there are opportunities to raft with us.”

Gauley season lasts five more weeks.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.