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My Buckhannon takes a trip on the Buckhannon River in recognition of Riverfest 2020

The fourth annual Buckhannon Riverfest came to a conclusion on Saturday after several days of virtual activities that highlighted how invaluable the Buckhannon River is to the local community.

In recognition of this year’s event, My Buckhannon founder Brian Bergstrom and his nephew Blake filmed a short kayak tour of the Buckhannon River, starting at the Riverwalk boat ramp and looping under the Poe Bridge.

The Buckhannon River, like other waterways in the region, offers many recreational boating opportunities in addition to the vital role it plays as the source of drinking water for Upshur County.

In the southern part of the county, Class III-IV rapids await adventurous whitewater kayakers, while the northern part of the river, from Sago through town, is perfect for a family-friendly float.

Riverfest was organized by Kevin Campbell, president of Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance.

“We’re continuing it for the same reason we started it – to bring attention to the wonderful resource that our county has that runs through our city and is an economic engine that we’re underutilizing,” Campbell said. “It’s also a reminder of the fragility of the river and that we don’t have a backup source.”

Bergstrom agreed that the river and other outdoor opportunities are often under-appreciated, even by local residents.

“We are blessed to have so many opportunities for outdoor recreation right here in Upshur County,” Bergstrom said. “Whether it’s cycling, hiking, boating or hunting and fishing, Upshur County offers something for families and thrill-seekers alike.”

As a kayaker, Bergstrom said the Buckhannon River compares favorably to other more well-known rivers in the region.

“The Buckhannon River has an entirely different character in Tenmile than it does in town,” Bergstrom said. “Riverfest is a great event for highlighting that diversity, as well as emphasizing the importance of protecting this vital resource.”

The 2020 event was held in memory of Riverfest founder April Pierson-Keating, who passed away in September 2019 after a years-long battle with breast cancer. The City of Buckhannon and West Virginia Rivers Coalition were also instrumental in this year’s event.

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