Boating on the Mon
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"If I had wings and I could fly, I know where I would go.
But right now I'll just sit here so contentedly
And watch the river flow."
Bob Dylan
, singer
 
 
This Section Pertains Mostly to the Upper Monongahela Water Trail 

Safety
Be sure you've had the proper training for operating the type of boat you'll be using. Check on river conditions by contacting one of the locks: Generally, the current is mild in the Mon, but the river can be hazardous during high water. During the late fall through early spring, the water is cold enough to cause hypothermia. Always wear a personal flotation device (previously known as a life vest), and it's a good idea to carry a cell phone. Watch out for tow boats! These boats require a lot of stopping and maneuvering space, so if you find yourself in the vicinity of one, stay in the clear. 

Of course the most dangerous boats are jet skis and motor boats with drunk drivers.  Be careful and remember that other boaters may not be able to see you because of the sun or glare on the water. In lightning storms, it's a good idea to get off the water entirely.  Need we mention sun screen in the summer? That's improtant.

Camping
There are many primitive camping possibilities along the Mon, but much of the property is privately owned. Remember to get permission to camp if possible and to use Leave No Trace principles.  During the warm months, look out for poison ivy!  It's prolific along the river banks. 

Docking facilities
Two new docks will open in the Morgantown harbor area this year!  More information will be available soon.

Locking

Opekiska lock, the uppermost lock on the Mon

On the entire length of the UMWT you will encounter five locks. All recreational vessels may use the locks without charge, and passage through usually takes about 20 minutes if no other vessels are in the lock. Boaters planning to use the locks should equip their vessels with an appropriate line (about 5-6 feet for a kayak or canoe, more for heavier boats) to secure their boats to the floating pins within the lock chamber wall.  There is no charge for locking.

You can let the lockmaster know you want to pass through by pulling a signal rope within a ladder on the approach lock wall, (see photo below) which is well marked. You may also use a cell phone to call the numbers listed below. Boaters should stay behind designated points on the approach wall to the lock until the lockmaster has opened the lock gates and signaled. Tell the lock personnel if you need help: they are friendly people who will be happy to assist you.

The chart below indicates which side of the river the lock is on: stay on that side as you approach, as the dam is on the other side.

The hours of operation information below (for the top three locks) is subject to change, so call ahead before you start your trip.

 

Lock lock side descending Mile Phone Hours of operation
 Opekiska  right 115.4 304-366-4224 Click Here for first 3 locks
 Hildebrand left 108.0 304-983-2300
Morgantown left 102.0 304-292-1885

Pt. Marion left 90.8 724-725-5289 24/7
Gray's Landing right 82 724-583-8304 24/7

 

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This site was last updated 03/21/07