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New film examines WV's three federally protected rivers

Feb. 26, 2013 @ 12:51 PM

 CHARLESTON —  A new 90-minute documentary from West Virginia Public Broadcasting explores the economic, environmental, cultural, historical and geographic impact of the largest federally protected system of rivers east of the Mississippi. “Three Rivers: The Bluestone, Gauley and New” examines the ongoing relationship between mankind and nature in this region. The film is a combination of travelogue, examination of efforts to improve the environment, and a mechanism for promoting economic growth through tourism.

The film was made by Huntington resident Russ Barbour, the award-winning documentary filmmaker who has worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting for more than 30 years.

Watch the premiere of this documentary at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 3 on West Virginia PBS.

“What makes these rivers unique, in part, is what makes West Virginia exceptional naturally – ruggedly beautiful terrain, innate resources and the people here,” said Russ Barbour, the documentary’s producer.  “My goal is to examine that which makes life along Bluestone National Scenic River, New River Gorge National River and Gauley River National Recreation Area particularly unique. For example, the Bluestone River offers solitude, good fishing and family-friendly hiking trails, while the New River boasts spectacular vistas and, along with the Gauley River, boasts world-class rapids for the whitewater adventure of a lifetime.”

Part of the film recounts the saga of the town of Lilly where residents were forced to moved away to accommodate construction of the Bluestone Lake and Dam in the 1940s. Today, descendents of these families return to the region annually for the Lilly Reunion, the world’s largest family reunion, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

In addition, Three Rivers chronicles life along the Gauley River during the Civil War, recounting the Battle of Carnifex Ferry and examining the river’s role today in drawing whitewater enthusiasts from around the globe to West Virginia.

The program also highlights role of the New River Gorge National River in relocating young peregrine falcons from urban environments to a more suitable habitat.

 Read an interview with Barbour in Sunday’s Life section of The Herald-Dispatch to learn more about this new documentary film on three of West Virginia’s wildest rivers.