West Virginia governor declares fifth season as 'Gauley Season'

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NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has designated a fifth official season in the Mountain State -- Gauley Season.

Gauley Season and whitewater rafting draws thrill-seekers from across the nation.

The whitewater rafting kicks off right after Labor Day and last for about six weeks as the Summersville Dam is released to lower the water levels for the winter season.

Justice was at this year’s season-opening release on Friday with members of West Virginia’s tourism community to make the announcement and mark the 50th anniversary of West Virginia’s whitewater rafting industry.

“Today is an exciting day. For years, we’ve talked about our four beautiful seasons, and I think we’ve been missing a major one – Gauley Season,” Justice said in a news release. “The rafting industry has served as the hub for tourism in our beautiful New River Gorge region for five decades, and I’m thrilled to be able to give it the recognition it deserves.”

A new vintage-style postcard was unveiled at the event to help mark the 50th anniversary of rafting in West Virginia. The postcards are available across the state and being distributed by the Tourism Office.

The 2018 Gauley Season will include 23 scheduled water releases, with an extra hour of release scheduled for Sept. 15-17. Many rafting companies are offering exclusive deals in honor of Gauley Season.

For more information or to plan your rafting excursion, go to wvtourism.com.

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