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Vermont Paddlers Club - February 2016

Ladies, Gentlemen and Paddlers,

I know its been a slow start to the winter and its been as frustrating for me as it has probably been for you. Our snowpack is thin and December was horrendously warm and snowless. Of course that actually led to some good rainfall and some really nice paddling. I know many folks got out on Christmas and New Years, among other days, and it was fun.

To start with, if you havent renewed your membership for 2016, please do so. We can now take payment via Paypal on our website for your convenience.

New Board Members

At the December 2015 General Meeting, club members elected a new Board of Directors.

  • President: Mike Mainer
  • Vice President: Brock Richardson
  • Secretary: Clay Murphy
  • Treasurer: Hugh Pritchard
  • Activities Director: John Atherton
  • Communications Director: Catharine Hull-Schott
  • Education Director: Paul Carlile
  • AtLarge Members: Ryan McCall & Chris Weed
  • Website Chairperson: Tony Shaw
  • Safety Chairperson: Ben Schott
  • Access, Conservation & Stewardship Chairperson: Mike Mainer

AJ Seibel and Alden Bird have both left the board. We thank them for their hard work and look forward to seeing them at the mountain or on the river or anywhere else for that matter.

Green River Relicensing

One of the most significant issues affecting paddling in Vermont hit hard and hit early this year. The Green River in Garfield is an awesome class IVIV+ run that has potential for scheduled dam releases as well as class III paddling. Unfortunately, the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources issued a 401 Water Quality Certification that prohibits scheduled whitewater releases and will significantly reduce the number of natural boatable spillover events.

We will need concerned paddlers to attend a public hearing on February 16th in Morrisville, and submit written comments no later than February 19th. I also ask you to visit the Vermont Paddlers Club website where we have assembled additional information to help you educate yourself on the complex issues surrounding the Green. Again, please attend the public hearing if you can, and absolutely submit written comments!

Other Stewardship Activities

Fortunately, the Green is not the only dam release river in Vermont. The Army Corps of Engineers bent over backwards to get us enough water for this years fall release on the West River, and hundreds of paddlers were able to enjoy a beautiful weekend on that classic river. Returning releases to the West continues to be a priority for the club, but it may be a few more years.

We also enjoyed several release days on the Sheldon Springs section of the Missisquoi. The owner of the dam there, Enel Green Power has been incredibly helpful in providing releases on this short but fun section of full volume class IV. The best part is we can look forward to many more days there in 2016.

2015 also saw the beginning of the relicensing process for several Transcanada dams on the Connecticut River. This effort by American Whitewater should fine tune flows at Sumners Falls (i.e. Hartlands, one of New Englands only reliable summertime play spots), and will hopefully result in scheduled releases on a new section of whitewater in Bellows Falls.

Pool Sessions

It has come to my attention that a number of Vermont paddlers will be spending a portion of their winter paddling warm, clear water in the rainforests of Ecuador. The rest of you should recreate this experience by attending one of the pool sessions the club has scheduled in Burlington and Montpelier. Actually, based on my knowledge of Ecuadors rivers, those of you who are heading south should also attend a few of these pool sessions. Details are on the clubs website.

New Haven Ledges Race

As always, the club is sponsoring the New Haven Ledges Race in Bristol, scheduled for April 16th, with a backup date of April 23rd. This race has become one of the best and most respected whitewater events in New England.

Please consider attending as a racer, volunteer or spectator.

Spring Trip Planning

The club will prepare a spring trip schedule in early March. If youre interested in leading a trip or would like a particular trip, please contact myself or another board member.

Spring and Summer Clinics

As always, the club will offer its Novice and Beginner Clinics in June or early July this year dates TBD. These clinics are always well received and are one of the most economical ways to get into whitewater paddling in the northeast. If you or someone you know would like to get a start in the sport, or wants an opportunity to develop basic skills, please check back later this spring. We also hope to add a junior/kids clinic, summertime outdoor rolling sessions, swiftwater rescue and revamp the creeking clinic, pending available resources.

Until Then...

Regardless of how bleakly snowless our state is right now, I guarantee the snow will come, the rain will fall and the rivers will rise. Until then please put some of the events listed above on your calendar and set aside some time to help the club advocate for paddling in Vermont.

Mike Mainer
VPC President and Vermont Paddler
Links:
Online Membership Renewal: http://vtpaddlers.net/?id=125
Green Relicensing: http://vtpaddlers.net/?id=150
Pool Sessions: http://vtpaddlers.net/?id=9

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