By: Ashley Conley
Swimming, bridge jumping, rope swinging, sunbathing and drinking – what more could college kids ask for? The perfect outdoor venue for de-stressing, relaxing and having fun with friends, Blue Hole is a sweet little getaway spot conveniently located for West Virginia University students. But what about the locals?
Blue Hole hasn’t always been “party central”. When the partygoers aren’t there, locals have a chance to enjoy the tranquility of the Cheat River, that is, if loud and obnoxious groups of people that leave heaps of trash and leftover beer cans that litter the waterside doesn’t ruin it for them.
Sometimes, Blue Hole looks like this:
And sometimes, it looks more like this:
Blue Hole certainly has changed over the years. When searching the internet, stories about the area becoming more of a social-gathering scene began to surface six years ago.
“I’ve seen a pile of trash in the parking area probably about the size of a car,” local Junior Freed told the WV Gazette Mail in 2011. “You can look around; there’s beer cans and beer bottles. Over on the rocks where the kids swim, there’s broken glass. It shouldn’t be like that.”
“It is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Heather Pell-Monahan, who grew up swimming in Blue Hole, posted to the Blue Hole, West Virginia Facebook page in 2013. “Please be respectful and keep the area cleaned up, as it would be a shame for it’s beauty to be unshared if ever made private due to the tons of trash people leave behind when being drunk and/or lazy.”
“People need to realize the (Cheat) river has its name for a reason and is not to be taken for granted,” posted Stephanie Lowdermilk. “Too many young out-of-towners have lost their lives there (referring to those who jump from the bridge). As a local who was raised here, I know of way too many deaths as a result of stupidity that people do here. The river is named The CHEAT for a reason. Respect that.”
Once again, when the partygoers aren’t there, Blue Hole is a fantastic place to unwind and simmer down while partaking in usual outdoor activities like biking, hiking, camping or even just walking your dog.
“West Virginia has some of the best riding worldwide – steep, twisty climbs, unmaintained dirt roads with little traffic & hairy descents, forest waterfalls & breathtaking vistas,” Stephanie Swan, who documented her Blue Hole biking adventure with the photos above, posted to Facebook in 2016.
If you are a partygoer with plans to visit Blue Hole sometime soon, please keep in mind that leaving litter and other pollutants in the area can not only ruin the fun for everyone, but can also severely harm the environment. Also keep in mind that Blue Hole isn’t yours; it doesn’t belong to you — you are just another visitor. Be kind to the Wild and Wonderful.
Cover Image: urbexbybishop/Instagram
Ashley Conley is a senior journalism student at WVU. She aspires to become a writer or reporter in the sports industry upon graduation. You can follow her on Twitter @ashleyconleyyy.