The Moats Falls area of Barbour County is a well-known and well-traffic outdoor recreation spot along the Tygart Valley River.
For locals who are aware of the dangers, the spot is perfect for swimming, fishing and enjoying the weather. But for visitors from out of town, the water can be dangerous.
“The problem is when you have the people who aren’t from around here, they just don’t respect that water, and that’s how we ended up with the issues that we are having,” said Chief Deputy Brett Carpenter, Barbour County Sheriff’s Department.
Over the years, just shy of 50 people have drowned at the location and many more people have sustained severe injuries. Law enforcement officials are working tirelessly to change that trend.
“We’re trying to keep somebody there, patrolling down there pretty regularly, and it seems to be deterring people from coming down in there,” said Carpenter.
Officials said they are not sure what the allure is, but visitors who are not familiar with the area do not take the danger seriously.
“We’re not having as much of an issue as we were having earlier in the year. We have kind of stepped up enforcement. We’re cracking down on parking, underage drinking, and any illegal activities down there,” continued Carpenter.
Law enforcement officials say the biggest danger with large crowds is parking. First responders are not able to reach visitors with cars on both sides of the narrow gravel road.
For party goers and college students the spot, more commonly known as Party Rock, is one of the best locations, but also one of the most dangerous.