July 2, 2009
Exuberant White Water Enthusiasts Flock to Jamaica, VT for a Surprise White Water Release
This past weekend hundreds of White Water Paddlers of all types descended upon the Jamaica State Part for a surprise summer release from the Ball mountain dam.
On Thursday June 25th the ACOE Announced a Surprise release of white water to draw the Ball Mountain Dam down to its normal summer storage level.
Attendees to the event were very thankful towards the Army Corps of Engineers for releasing the water over a weekend where many could attend.
Charles Still of FriendsOfTheWestRiver.org points to the attendance levels as a key sign to the potential positive economic impact that scheduled white water releases can have on the surrounding communities.
Historically, a scheduled two day Fall release has drawn several thousand attendees to enjoy the river. A 2005 study, paid for in part by the Town of Jamaica, conservatively estimated a $440,000 positive economic impact to Jamaica and surrounding communities.
The 2009 Spring Release from the Ball Mountain Dam was canceled this year, negatively impacting the surrounding areas in a time of financial distress.
Several organizations including; The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), American White Water, New England Flow, Friends of the West River, and many volunteers have been attempting to work with the ACOE to enhance the recreational and economic opportunities provided by the existence of the dam.
All of the groups involved were encouraged by this release and were hopeful that it was a step in the right direction.
Charles J. Still, MBA, Friends of the West River