Wanted: Your summer photos of Elk River

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Elk River is getting the photo documentary treatment.

To mark the 1st anniversary of the 2016 Flood, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition is collecting photos of the Elk River online and via an app from Water Reporter.

“The Elk is one of our state’s treasures,” said Kathleen Tyner with the West Virginia Rivers Coalition.

With the photos, “We’ll be creating a photo map, both digital and print, of all of those photos on the Elk so you’ll see pictures that create the Elk River and all of its tributaries.”

From now through Labor Day, volunteers are being asked to submit photos for the crowdsourcing project to document lasting flood effects and identify potential future cleanup projects.

“They could snap pictures of flood damage, pictures of recovery since last year, photos of, maybe, logjams that are still causing recreational issues,” Tyner explained. “But we also want to celebrate the Elk, so pictures of wildlife or just really beautiful photos of the river can all be uploaded.”

Angie Rosser, executive director of West Virginia Rivers, echoed that in a statement.

“Several affected communities still have a long way to go to fully recover,” she said.

“Seeing the river restored to its health and beauty is part of that healing process. This project is a way for people to help identify areas of the river itself that still need attention.”

The free Water Report app can be downloaded at the website for the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, a nonprofit organization focused on river conservation and restoration, HERE or HERE. It’s also available through iOS and Android app stores.

Tyner said the Elk River is an important one in West Virginia.

“I think it’s really underappreciated for its recreational and ecological value. You have everything from fast rapids and narrow creeks up near the headwaters to a beautiful, slow-moving river at it gets close to Charleston,” Tyner said. “It’s a really special river.”

The finished photo documentary will be displayed during the West Virginia Rivers Elkspedition Picnic and Paddle scheduled for Labor Day.

It’s a three mile float on the Elk River that ends at Kanawha County’s Coonskin Park. The free event is open to paddlers of all ages and skill levels.