Marlinton – the Floods and a Pocahontas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Update
On the Monday following the “Floods of 2016” we ventured into Marlinton to see how that town fared. Quite well it seemed, at least comparatively to our neighbors down in Greenbrier County. I could see where water had come onto U.S. 219 up near the Dairy Queen, left some mud and receded. Since there was a sign indicating that restaurant would open at 2 p.m., it appears that there was only minor damage if any. Other stores along that strip of highway were open. Although it was evident that the Greenbrier River had exceeded its bank near downtown, I only saw minor signs of receded water along First Street without obvious signs of major damage.
While in town I spoke with Cara Rose, the director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau about her observations of the flooding in Marlinton. I asked her if she had come to the town early that morning.
“I did” said Cara. “I had really hoped that the water had come down, but I really didn’t really know what kind of condition the Marlinton area would be in. The water had come down. It was clear along Route 39. The water had been up several places well over the road. And when I got to town, there was some sign of water in the lower laying area, but the water had receded. Water did not get into downtown Marlinton proper. Riverside north of Marlinton along (Route) 219 did have some water in some businesses. Again, the water has receded now. All-in-all Marlinton did not lose power of phone, just very fortunate that most of Marlinton didn’t have flooding, but certainly still distressed that some businesses did suffer some flooding.
Cara talked about the conditions in other areas of the County and how tourism has been affected.
Of course we surveyed our tourism partners” said Cara. “(There is) quite a bit of damage around the Snowshoe area, but Snowshoe Mountain Resort is accessible either from 66 out of Cass or from 219 –and that’s Snowshoe Drive. For the most part, outside of power issues and no phones, most of our tourism partners are ok. A few businesses are closed, had a few bridge outings into private businesses like Elk River Inn and a few other places. But otherwise visitors are calling; visitors are still coming. We’re open for business. Cass Scenic Railroad is open, Durbin train is open and people are coming. So we’re just informing them as best as we can when they do call here so they understand the best routes to come in due to the regional issues that are out there due to the water.”
I asked Cara how tourists who had been camping had fared.
“I do know that some campers did head out yesterday” said Cara. “Some of them stuck it out last night. And some campgrounds around the area asked some campers to evacuate in some locations. We had two gentlemen who were kayaking down the Greenbrier River over the past several days. They weren’t in any serious danger but they definitely wanted to get off the river and find an easy way home, so fortunately Mike Smith, Superintendent of Droop happened to come upon them and brought them into Marlinton, and we helped them out here in the office yesterday. They did make it home safely late last night.
Cara also wanted the public to know a couple of upcoming events:
Snowshoe will still be having their big 4th of July weekend, including one of the best fireworks displays in the area at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday July 2nd, which is their Community Appreciation Day. That evening will also feature live music by the Lonesome River Band and by the Deer Creek Boys.
The 50th Annual Pioneer Days remains scheduled for July 7th through the 10th in Marlinton, with the Grand Parade to be held on Saturday the 9th at 7:30 p.m. and the Black Mountain Boys will be performing Saturday evening.
The Pocahontas County Museum will be opening for the season then too.
Durbin days will be held from July 13th through the 17th with a carnival and with the grand parade being held at 2 p.m. on Saturday July 16th.
So let’s get past the depressing and tragic weather we’ve had and celebrate the summer at our upcoming fairs and festivals