Gauley Season is a special time for rafting on the Gauley River. Every fall, the Summersville Dam is opened for about six weekends to allow for great whitewater on the Gauley River below. All year the Summersville Lake collects water until fall when much of it is released. This period of great whitewater and water flow in the Gauley River is known as Gauley Season. This year, 2012,Gauley Season will start the weekend of September 7th and run through October 21st.
The Summersville Dam is run by the US Army Corps of Engineers. They use it to prevent floods, create a recreational lake, and to create hydroelectric power. They need to release a lot of the water behind the dam each fall so that the lake has enough room for winter melts and spring rain. This year they will release water each weekend from Friday through Monday between September 7th and October 8th. Then they will open the dam again the next two weekends on the 13th, 14th and 21st of October.
Gauley Season isn’t the only time you can raft on the Gauley River. There is enough water to float easily all year and rafting companies take groups out all summer. River Expeditions offers a summer Gauley trip any day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. You can even book a two day trip on both the Gauley and New Rivers in the summer. To account for the lower water in the Gauley river in summertime, they decide to use rafts or duckies depending on the conditions of each section of river.