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Wednesday Feb 28, 2018

Dear Paddlers,

The spring paddling season is approaching, and perhaps faster than we might like, with a major thaw and flood watch coming February 19-21. Hopefully we’ll get more snow in late February and early March to at least partially rebuild the snowpack. Aside from that, we have several pieces of news about VPC and the upcoming season:

Thanks to outgoing board members

Thanks to Ryan McCall, Brock Richardson, Catharine Hull, and Mike Mainer (outgoing president) for their service on the VPC board over the last two years. You will be missed, but we’ll be seeing you on the river! I’d like to offer a special thank you to Brock for his contributions to VPC over the past few years and his comradeship on the river. (He pulled me out of a sticky situation on the Mad last year!) Brock is living in southern Connecticut now, but we expect to see him at the West River and the Ottawa during the coming year.

New to the board

I’d like to welcome Jim Poulin to the board as Secretary, Andrew Wagner as Communication Director, and Sarah Cunningham as Director At-Large. Mike Mainer remains on the board as Conservation Chair, where he will focus on stewardship issues. See the full board membership at www.vtpaddlers.net/index.php?id=29.

2018 Pool Sessions

We’ve had good attendance (despite some cancellations) at the first two pool sessions at UVM (1/27, 2/9). We hope to see more of you at the upcoming UVM sessions on February 23 and March 10. A session at Johnson State College is also in the works. For more information and signup links go to www.vtpaddlers.net/index.php?id=9.

Trip Planning Meeting

The planning meeting for spring and summer trips is being held on Thursday, February 22, at Jim Poulin’s house in Richmond (16 Orchard Lane, at the lower end of Dugway Road). The meeting starts at 6:30 pm with free pizza and some socializing, after which we get down to business. (As for beverages, this time it’s BYOB [or hard cider]!)

Spring Meeting and Potluck

The annual spring meeting is scheduled for Sunday, March 25, at 6:00 pm. As usual we’ll be meeting at the Williston Federated Church. After dinner Ben Schott will be presenting on last fall’s Benedict Arnold Expedition/Reenactment, described in a November article in the Bangor (ME) Daily News.

New Haven Ledges Race

This spring marks the 10th running of the race, which is being held on Saturday, April 14 (with a make-up date of April 21). For more information on the race, and a pre-registration link (on the About page), see www.facebook.com/NewHavenRace/.

NFCT Paddling Film Festival at Outdoor Gear Exchange

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s film fest is being held on Thursday, April 12, in Burlington, just a couple of days before the New Haven Race. NFCT always includes a mix of whitewater and flatwater films—canoeing and sea kayaking—with something else occasionally thrown in. The selections are from Rapid Media’s Reel Paddling Film Festival. On the NFCT website, go to Get Involved > Events/Activities.

Upcoming Clinics

Our whitewater clinics are now on the VPC Events Calendar. The Novice Clinic is scheduled for June 9-10, the weekend after FWR’s Onion River Race, and the Class II Clinic is scheduled for the weekend of July 14-15.

We had good participation in the Novice Clinic last year, and for the first time conducted both on-river sessions on the Mad River. Saturday afternoon was spent on the Middle Mad (Moretown gravel yard to Ward Swimming Hole) and Sunday’s sessions were spent on the Lower Mad (Moretown Dam to the Winooski River) at a flow of ~250 cfs. This proved to be very successful. I hope we can repeat it this year (flows permitting).

Moretown Dam relicensing (Mad River)

In November, the owner and operator of the Moretown Dam filed a notice of intent to apply for a new license to operate the dam, which is now publicly available in the Federal Register. This was in anticipation of the current license's expiration on November 30, 2022. The relicensing gives a potential opportunity to secure long-term access on river left, just downstream of the dam. Everyone is accustomed to using the river right access on Moretown Mountain Road, but it’s on private land, so there is no guarantee of its continued availability.

It’s early yet, but the paddling community should be prepared to advocate for its interests as the relicensing process proceeds. Almost everyone who paddles whitewater in central and northern Vermont paddles the Lower Mad, and many of us paddle it more often than any other stretch of river in the state.

Membership

Please be sure to renew your membership for 2018. (As most of you know it can be done online via PayPal.) Completely aside from the support your dues provide, our role in the paddling community is dependent on a large and dedicated membership.

I am looking forward to a great paddling season in 2018, and seeing you all on the river. Let it rain (and snow)!!

 

Sincerely,

  Chris

Chris Weed
VPC President

 

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