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Dave Arnold

Dave Arnold

Board Member, Adventures on the Gorge

2024 Inductee

Dave is a founding partner in a number of adventure/resort businesses: Class VI River Runners Inc., Lost Paddle LLC, Adventures on the Gorge (AOTG), Mountain State Outdoor LLC, New River Adventure Resort LLC, Wild Rock LLC and Bridge Walk LLC. All these companies were formed in partnership with a number of great partners. These companies started with the formation of Class VI River Runners in 1977 when Dave was 22 years old. The pursuit of excellence was always a cornerstone in the development of these companies.

All of the companies listed above were in southern West Virginia and focused on tourism development in the New and Gauley River communities.  Class VI’s first year had 19 W2 forms.  In 2022 there were almost 650 W2’s for AOTG.  The evolution went from a small river outfitter to a diverse adventure resort over 45 years of growth and acquisitions.   What started with Dave and his wife living at the base of operations in a tent, slowly grew to a campus of multiple restaurants, swimming pool, conference center, canopy tour, ziplines and rafting trips for ages 6 to 86.   Well over one million guests have used these services including Vice President Dan Quayle and family, a large number of Governors including Jerry Brown of California, John de Jorge of the American Virgin Islands and many West Virginia Governors.  We have also hosted astronaut Neil Armstrong, Yo Yo Ma, Arlo Guthrie, Terry Labonte and the Princess of Thailand Bajrakitiyabha, to name a few of the more interesting guests.

I presently sit on the board of Adventures on the Gorge.   Public boards I have been on are the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association (WVHTA) as both President of the Travel division and Chairman.   I have chaired and been appointed by six WV Governors to the state tourism commission, and other state boards such as the Whitewater Board, and the Economic Development board.  I also sit on a board to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank and have been on a local four county development board call the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority.  Two of my personal favorite accomplishments working with these boards were to bring the Boy Scouts of America to their permanent national Jamboree facility, and to bring America’s newest National Park and Preserve to New River.   Both were accomplished by working closely with then Governor and now Senator Joe Manchin.

Entrepreneur of the year for WV by Inc Magazine and Ernst and Young, Whos who in WV business by the State Journal, WV tourism professional of the year by the WVHTA, America Outdoors Award for Exemplary Service to the national industry and the Best of WV community Champion by WV Living.

Married since 1982 to Peggy Arnold, son Jeffrey.   Graduated from Miami University in Oxford Ohio with a pre med focus.   Run our family farm in Fayetteville Ohio, a 500 acre beans and corn operation.  Have run and visited outfitters from Alaska to Chile.   First ran the New River as a teenager in 1970 and have been in love with the New River Gorge area ever since.