Cheat River could be big tourist destination
On Tuesday, May 23, 1989, Norman Julian wrote a column about the Cheat River published by The Dominion Post, quoting the article “A river that is a state treasure, yet is little known to outsiders.”
Thirty-four years have passed and there is still very little promotion for the Cheat River (e.g., in the new West Virginia Vacation Guide). I have yet to see a sign anywhere directing tourists to the Cheat River, which should be recognized as a scenic river.
Yes, tourists do come to the river. Local rafting companies bring paddlers to do day trips. But they spend a day on the river, then leave. Local businesses just see the paddlers go past in buses.
I truly feel past politicians have missed the Cheat River’s economic potential for towns like Rowlesburg.
There are no port-a-potties from outside Rowlesburg to Preston, possibly Caddell. There isn’t an overlook to watch kayakers or rafters who run Calamity Rock or any rapids in the Narrows Section. An overlook could be built just south of Pringle Run to let tourists take four-season photos of the river.
Now there is a new section of four-lane highway to open between Davis and Elkins. There is to be an exit ramp at Parsons. Will there be signs erected to direct tourists to the scenic Cheat River? There should be some money from our lottery proceeds. Or maybe the DOH got all the sign money for the yellow “curve” signs?
Does anyone in Charleston even care about the economic potential of the Cheat River?
Thank goodness citizens took the initiative to stock trout in Cheat River, even though the state said the trout wouldn’t survive. And many thanks to Amanda Pitzer and her group at the Friends of Cheat for acquiring right of ways for trails and other projects.
Shakespeare’s tie to West Virginia
If Shakespeare is “Greek to (me)” you, and you refuse to “budge an inch,” or “stand on ceremony,” “as good luck would have it,” Shakespeare is “too much of a good thing.” Although you have probably “seen better days,” it is “high time,” “for goodness’ sake,” to learn Shakespeare. “And that is the long and the short of it.”
Today is National Shakespeare Day. All of the above phrases have been credited to Shakespeare.
In Act 2, sc. 3, Romeo is trading witty barbs with his friend Mercutio. When Mercutio can’t keep pace, he surrenders, exclaiming:
“Nay, if our wits run the wild goose chase, I am/done, for thou hast more of the wild goose in one of thy/wits than I am sure I have in my whole five …”
In Shakespeare’s day, “wild goose chase” was a game enjoyed by the upper class. A lead horseman would take off from a set distance from the others. As everyone chased after him, the resulting formation of the horses would sometimes resemble a flock of wild geese — sort of like “tag” on horseback. But the game faded into obscurity as parlor games came into fashion.
West Virginia, in particular, may owe a debt of gratitude to the Bard. In Act 4, sc. 2 of “Cymbeline,” Cloten (bad guy) asks Guiderius (good guy):
“Soft what are you/That fly me thus? Some villain mountaineers?/I have heard of thus. What slave art thou?”
Before the spelling we have now, “mountaineer” was spelled with only one “e.” Shakespeare added an extra “e” for a more pronounced effect, a little trick he pinched from the French — bucanEER, pamphletEER.
A mountaine(e)r, roughly translated meant an illiterate hillbilly. So for WVU sports fans, it’s just a name. But for the hardworking coal miners and farmers of West Virginia, it’s a term we affectionately tolerate with ancestral pride — but only amongst ourselves; Mountaineers don’t take too kindly to insults from outsiders, if you “catch my drift.”