The Cheat River courses through one of the largest undammed watersheds in the eastern United States. The river forms from tributaries high in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia and flows northward to meet with the Monongahela River just before crossing into southwestern Pennsylvania. From there, the Mon joins the Allegheny River to form the Ohio River. The Ohio River is a drinking water source for five million people, and 25 million people in Appalachia and the Midwest live within its watershed.
The Cheat River has a storied history. Not so long ago, the river ran orange for miles at a time from acid mine drainage, but revitalization efforts have brought the waters back to life, both literally and figuratively. The once-dead river now supports an aquatic ecosystem that draws in anglers from around the region and world-class conditions that whitewater rafters, kayakers and squirt boaters enjoy.
How To: This 360-degree video is interactive. Click and drag your mouse, move your device or drag with your finger to explore the views, both above and below the water’s surface.
This video was produced by Jeffrey Boggess, Ariel Cifala, Bijan Fandey, Shae McClain and Mark Schoenster, students in the West Virginia University Reed College of Media, under the direction of David Smith, teaching assistant professor in the Reed College and multimedia producer for 100 Days in Appalachia. Smith can be reached at email@example.com.
Joel Wolpert assisted in shooting the underwater footage.
Good River: Stories of the Ohio is a series about the environment, economy, and culture of the Ohio River watershed, produced by seven nonprofit newsrooms. To see more, please visit ohiowatershed.org.