In 2012, West Virginia celebrates 44 years of Whitewater Rafting! What began in 1968 as one outfitter running a few trips on the New River has grown into a $20 million industry attracting visitors from around the world.
In the 1960’s and 70’s, commercial rafting was very much a novelty with relatively few outfitters operating in the United States. The introduction of whitewater rafting to West Virginia brought in a new era of economic growth shifting the focus away from the historical income-producing industries such as coal-mining and timber toward travel and tourism.
West Virginia rafting participants during the early years were in their twenties and thirties, hungry for adventure and new thrills. The New and Gauley Rivers delivered exactly what they were looking for and more.
Most had never experienced West Virginia as a tourist destination and few had ever come into contact with our wild rivers and scenic beauty. Rafting in the Mountain State was the ultimate outdoor adventure combining picturesque wilderness, challenging rivers and plenty of adrenaline to go around.