Rotary Club hears about paragliding


ELKINS — Members of the Rotary Club of Elkins heard a presentation Monday about a growing tourist attraction in Tucker County.

While there are very few people in the state who become certified paraglider pilots, it is a growing sport that is attracting more and more interest, said Tucker County resident Ellie Herrick, who shared photos and information during the Rotary Club’s lunch meeting at the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA.

Herrick said many tourists are coming to the area to watch paragliding and enjoy the amazing views of Red Creek Valley from the launch site, which opened Sept. 11 last year at a mountain in Canaan Valley State Park.

“The view is so spectacular,” she said of the launch area, which can be reached by riding the ski lift. “They’re bringing tour buses over there now.”

Herrick told Rotary members a little bit about the training to become certified, paragliding equipment and the complexity involved in flying through the air currents.

“The wind can be very, very fickle around here,” she said. “Paragliding here is very difficult to do. … The main draw is other people like to watch it.”

Herrick said she and her husband, Ben, are two of just eight paraglider pilots in West Virginia.

“It’s a very, very obscure sport. It’s very niche,” she said.

Still, she encourages anyone interested in paragliding or hang gliding to consider becoming trained.

“It’s very soft, very easy,” she said. “It’s the slowest form of aviation. It’s pure flying.”

More information about the sport is available online by visiting the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association’s website at

∫ In other Rotary news, Merllene Yorkey, the club’s secretary/treasurer, presented Mollie Propst with a Paul Harris Fellow award. Yorkey said Propst has volunteered a great deal of her time to doing anything the local club needs.

The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute $1,000 or who have that amount contributed in their name to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary


The Elkins Rotary Club is part of Rotary International, a service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders and support humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards and advance goodwill and peace around the world.

More information is available online at