Bluestone River

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For the river in Alaska, see Bluestone River (Alaska).
Bluestone River
Bluestone River Pipestem.jpg
Bluestone River in Pipestem Resort State Park
Country United States
States Virginia, West Virginia
Counties Tazewell VA, Mercer WV, Summers WV
 - left Little Bluestone River
 - right Blacklick Creek (West Virginia)
Source East River Mountain
 - location Tazewell County, Virginia
 - elevation 3,589 ft (1,094 m) [1]
 - coordinates 37°10′19″N 81°24′58″W / 37.17194°N 81.41611°W / 37.17194; -81.41611 [2]
Mouth New River in Bluestone Lake
 - location Summers County, West Virginia
 - elevation 1,424 ft (434 m) [2]
 - coordinates 37°36′44″N 80°54′52″W / 37.61222°N 80.91444°W / 37.61222; -80.91444Coordinates: 37°36′44″N 80°54′52″W / 37.61222°N 80.91444°W / 37.61222; -80.91444 [2]
Length 77 mi (124 km) [3]
Discharge for Pipestem, West Virginia
 - average 470 cu ft/s (13 m3/s) [4]
 - max 19,300 cu ft/s (547 m3/s) peak (April 5, 1977)
 - min 7 cu ft/s (0 m3/s) daily mean (September 22, 1955)

The Bluestone River is a tributary of the New River, 77 mi (124 km) long, in southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia in the United States.[3] Via the New, Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River. An 11 mi (18 km) portion of its lower course is designated as the Bluestone National Scenic River.[5]


The Bluestone rises on East River Mountain in Tazewell County, Virginia and flows generally northeastwardly through Mercer and Summers Counties in West Virginia, passing the towns of Bluefield in Virginia and Bramwell and Montcalm in West Virginia.[6][7] It joins the New River about 4 mi (6.4 km) south of Hinton as part of Bluestone Lake,[3] which is formed by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam on the New. The Bluestone's National Scenic River segment is located mostly in Summers County, as is Pipestem Resort State Park, which lies along a gorge formed by the river.[7][8]


The Bluestone has been compromised by PCB contamination, largely left over from former coal mining activities. As a result of this contamination, Virginia does not recommend eating any carp in the upstream vicinity of Bluefield, Virginia.[9] West Virginia recommends eating only one meal of carp per month.[10]

In Virginia, the state Department of Environmental Quality does not recommend any contact recreation (such as swimming or wading) in the Bluestone due to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria.[11]

Little Bluestone River[edit]

The Little Bluestone River[12] is a minor tributary of the Bluestone in Summers County, fewer than 10 mi (15 km) in length from its formation by the confluence of two streams, White Oak Branch and Jumping Branch.[7]

Variant names[edit]

According to the Geographic Names Information System, the Bluestone River has also been known as:[13]

  • Big Bluestone River
  • Blue Stone Creek
  • Blue Stone River
  • Bluestone Creek
  • Mec-ce-ne-ke-ke-ce-pe-we
  • Mec-cen-ne-ke-ke
  • Mo-mom-ga-sen-eka-ce-pe

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bluestone River Source". Elevation Query. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bluestone River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2004-04-24. 
  3. ^ a b c Columbia Gazetteer of North America entry Archived March 25, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "USGS 03179000 BLUESTONE RIVER NEAR PIPESTEM, WV". National Water Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  5. ^ Bluestone National Scenic River website
  6. ^ DeLorme (2005). Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. ISBN 0-89933-326-5
  7. ^ a b c DeLorme (1997). West Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. ISBN 0-89933-246-3
  8. ^ Pipestem Resort State Park website
  9. ^ "PCBs in the Bluestone River" (PDF). Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ "West Virginia Fish Consumption Advisories". West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Fecal Bacteria and General Standard Total Maximum Daily Load Development for the Bluestone River" (PDF). Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. September 2004. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Little Bluestone River
  13. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bluestone River

External links[edit]