More fun is coming to the New River Gorge!

Whitewater rafting gets a high-tech upgrade.
The New River’s legendary rapids have entertained folks for generations. Now, safety features and controlled rides make rafting more accessible than ever. Soon, the New River will be turned into a water park.

Technical rapids, technical considerations

Every river has personality, and the New is no exception. The placid Upper shifts from pools to spunky waves, while the Lower writhes with gigantic rapids. These distinct segments have allowed beginners and experts to enjoy the sport for years.
But “mechanized” New River rafting will make whitewater better than ever. With the installment of underwater tracks and rides, Class V rapids are something even toddlers can experience.

Class V thrills

The proposed monorail system will be the first of its kind for the New River, which currently belongs to the National Park Service. According to an inside source, only water from Hinton to Thurmond and beyond will be impacted.
“Basically, the marine cableway will control all craft from the Upper to the Lower,” confirmed a spokeswoman on the condition of anonymity. “It will be an endlessly amusing and invigorating sports-like experience.”
An amusement park developer will also install automatic sprayers, artificial waterfalls, and speakers. Riders might come across animatronic bears and wolves, budget permitting.

Sneak peek

A concept photo shows some of the changes coming to the New River, featuring the region’s mascot New River George.

Regardless, the mechanization of the New River looks increasingly likely. Though definite plans are still far from complete, a source close to the committee provided a few details.
Here’s what to expect:

  • Mechanized risers: In areas of “extreme turbulence” (rapids), the ride will lift passengers above waves.
  • More splish-splash fun: Areas of the Upper will have “wet zones” for rafters. Tourists can also bring water pistols with them.
  • Bumpers: Boulders in narrow passages will have “impact buffers” installed at their bases to prevent boats from chaffing.
  • Concessions: While tourists wait to board the rafts, they can order soda, lemonade, hot dogs, popcorn, and burgers.

It is also confirmed that New River George, the region’s mascot, will preside over park. Plush dolls of the affable adventurer— including his dog, hawk, and river otter— will also be available for purchase.
“He’ll be just like Mickey Mouse at Disneyland,” said Sharon Cruikshank, Director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Do you think turning the New River into a commercial water park is a mistake? Why or why not?