In July of last year a natural high flow event occurred on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee, which had significant effects on wood in the river.  These effects were overwhelmingly positive for paddlers, as high flow events tend to move pieces of wood to channel margins and into large accumulations.  With this said, the new patterns may pose isolated navigational hurdles or hazards, and have negatively affected some landowners.

On March 29, 2014 paddlers will be gathering to conduct limited management of problematic pieces of wood in the dry riverbed at key locations (where permission is granted).  The following day Duke Energy will be conducting a flow release of 250cfs from 10am to 4pm to allow for limited management of problematic pieces of wood by the paddling community.  Management efforts will be aimed at improving recreational conditions prior to official recreational releases beginning in May, and at easing landowner concerns.

Paddlers wishing to help move problematic pieces of wood on March 29, March 30, or both are encouraged to let us know, and we’ll share more detailed logistics with you.  Paddlers not wanting to pitch in are encouraged to wait for more optimal conditions during the official releases to descend the river.

The wood dynamics in the West Fork have been heavily altered by decades of dewatering followed by flow restoration.  We predict that more natural and normal wood dynamics will return to the river over time, and for now support small amounts of wood management that can have big recreational benefits without causing ecological harm.  Learn more about wood in rivers here.