Hoosic, New York, US
|Usual Difficulty||V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||75 fpm|
|Max Gradient||200 fpm|
|HOOSIC RIVER NEAR EAGLE BRIDGE NY|
|usgs-01334500||1200 - 4000 cfs||V||02h05m||550 cfs (too low)|
Flow Study Completed! American Whitewater at Work!
Scouting the Upper Gorge (and portaging around it)
Conduct at Put-in and Take-out
Overview: The Schaghticoke Gorge is a beautiful gorge that had not been commonly run before the flow study described below. There is a dam in the town of Schaghticoke that normally diverts the flow of the Hoosic river around the gorge to generate electricity. The gorge drops about 150 feet in total, but most of that gradient (100 feet including the dam) comes in the first 4/10 mile. In addition to the dam, there are 2 major drops. One is under the Rte 40/67 bridge. (See photo below: "Under the Bridge") The other major drop is the one shown above with John Gangemi running the river right channel. (See also photo: "Big Drop") There are two sets of nice rapids below the Big Drop until the river empties out into the Big Eddy. The section down to Big Eddy is referred to as the Upper Gorge. After Big Eddy, Class 2/3 rapids take you all the way down to the takeout at the powerhouse. This section is referred to as the Lower Gorge. Caution: Most of the rocks are sharp slate.
Flow Study Completed! American Whitewater at work!!! On June 10 & 11, 2003, a flow study was conducted by American Whitewater with the cooperation of Reliant Energy. Participants included members of the American Whitewater and the Adirondack Mountain Club as well as open boat paddling legend Jim Michaud. John Gangemi did a fantastic job organizing the event. He coordinated getting John Duncan and Jason from Sacandaga Outdoor Center to participate, and they were critical to the success of the flow study by providing shuttle transportation with their van and trailer. (Not to mention that Jason really helped me out by fishing me out of the whirlpool.) Thanks to Aaron for participating despite the last-second notice. (Sorry about the pieces of shale in your boat, Colleen!) Without the success of this flow study, we could not have demonstrated the whitewater potential of the gorge, and Reliant Energy probably would not have had to have any releases scheduled at all. Water was released into the gorge from the gate on the far river left end of the dam. Over the two days, four flow levels were investigated. Because of the location of the release, the rapids under the bridge (see photo) were not availble. Until this flow study, it was not known what the exact potential for whitewater recreation was. As a result of the flow study, we know that the Hoosic Gorge is a fantastic whitewater resource! Every drop was run. Only one line on Big Drop was run, but it was run by several people. One of the rapids got a terrific name: "What About Bob?" Everyone had fun, and there were only a couple of swims.
Directions are described in relation to the Rte 40/67 bridge over the Schaghticoke Gorge in
Schaghticoke. Take I-87 (Adirondack Northway) to Exit 9. Head east on Rte 146 to Mechanicville.
In Mechanicville, take Rte. 67 east across the Hudson river and stay on Rte 67 until you reach
Scouting the Upper Gorge (and portaging around it): See Steve Brabetz's Schaghticoke Gorge site for pictures of the gorge at low flow to get an idea of the hidden hazards in this stream bed. A carriage road runs along the upper gorge on river right down to Big Eddy. The best scouting of the major drops is from the bridge and along this carriage road. To find the Carriage Road drive to downtown Schaghticoke. Park on side streets--not the main drag. The Carriage Road is located down an alley way between two residences. These folks view this as private property. However, this Carriage Road is Utility Company land and the Settlement Agreement allows for public access. Do Not Park in this Alley or turn around in it. You can follow the Carriage Road all the way to Big Eddy. For those wishing to portage the upper gorge, Big Eddy is the put-in. Numerous social trails from the Carriage road provide good scouting vantage points of the river.
Conduct at put-in and take-out: There is limited parking in the town of Schaghticoke and at the take-out. In Schaghticoke try to park on a side street out of respect for the locals--we want to cultivate a positive relationship with the local community. That positive relationship starts with you.
Put-in gps coords (see below) refer to the fishing access near the railroad tracks. The put-in has changed for releases. There is a carriage trail which runs down the river right side of the gorge. You can get to carriage trail by taking your first right after crossing the bridge heading north. Street parking is available. There is an alley way across from the bar. Carry your boat to the down the alley. Just under the bridge there is a steep trail to carry your boat down to the drop under the bridge. During releases, start there. To get to the put-in for the Class III section at Big Eddy, continue to carry down the carriage trail until you get to the river. Great views of the upper part of the gorge are available along this portage.
Take-out GPS coords (see below) refer to the powerhouse at the end of the gorge. From the gorge bridge, head SW again, and take a right on Chestnut Street. Keep bearing left to wind your way down to river level. Proceed along at river level to cross the Hoosic to get to the powerhouse. The two land-owners on this road to the take-out did not want to grant the public easement during the relicense process. The Federal Power Act requires public access to the project. Rather than force the issue legally we reached a settlement agreement whereby parking is limited to 5 vehicles. The objective of limited parking is to reduce traffic on the road to the powerhouse. Boaters need to be conscientious and respectful of this desire of the local landowners on this road. Coordinate shuttles with other boaters. Overflow parking is available at the Church on Chestnut street. Drive 20 mph or less on this road--speed limits in excess of this will jeopardize relations with these land-owners and potentially future releases. Be sure to educate other boaters that may not have read this web page or are slow to learn that their actions affect perceptions of the sport in general.
Whitewater Release Schedule: American Whitewater negotiated five whitewater releases in the relicense process. These releases started in spring 2004. For the first three years there was one whitewater release annually starting the first Wednesday evening (5 PM to 8 PM) after April 15th. In year four additional releases will be added (up to five total) provided twenty-five or more boaters attended each release in the year prior. In the event that ten or fewer boaters attend a release one release will be subtracted from the annual total. Upon two or more releases the schedule will alternate between Wednesday evening (5-8 PM) and Saturday (1-4 PM). This schedule may be adjusted in year five depending on participant preference for weekday or weekend releases.
Release Levels: Proposed Language from American Whitewater Comments on the Hoosic River Project, FERC No. 2616:
"Licensee shall make a whitewater release into the Schaghticoke bypass from the dam provided inflow to the Johnsonville reservoir is >638 cfs (this is using 1.254 as the multiplier) on the first Wednesday after April 15. In 2010, it is anticipated that the release will take place on April 21. If inflow to the Johnsonville reservoir is >1278 cfs (this is using 1.254 as the multiplier) then the Licensee can resume power generation with the excess water provided 1600 cfs remains in the bypass channel. If inflow to the Johnsonville reservoir is < 638 cfs (this is using 1.254 as the multiplier) then the whitewater release will be postponed until the following Wednesday. If inflows sufficient to trigger a whitewater release are not achieved by November 30th of that year then the Licensee has no obligation to fulfill this license condition for that calendar year. Wednesday releases will start at 5:00 PM."
Use extreme caution! Scout carefully during the releases!
Capital Region Area Reaches
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Map of Gorge|
|0.3||Under the Bridge||IV|
|0.3||big drop (video)||5.0|
|0.4||The Big Drop||5.0|
|0.5||What About Bob?||IV|
The dam is just upstream of the rte 67 bridge.
See photo above. This rapid was not run as part of the flow study, but it has several runnable routes. The easist route is probably the middle route to the river right side of the bridge pylon. The river right route has a pothole which has the potential of breaking at least a paddle.
Latitude/longitude coordinates of the rapids are approximate, from Google Maps terrain and satellite views.
Immdiately downstream of the bridge is large island toward the river right. It is best to take the right channel and eddy out on the downstream end of the island to take a look at the Big Drop. At all but the highest flows you can scout and portage from the island. Make sure that you scout this from the carriage road (see: Scouting the Upper Gorge, above) to make sure that a portage is an option. The right channel route of Big Drop does not have a pool beneath it, but it is not a straight vertical drop. At higher water flows the landing is cushioned enough. At low flows, the landing will be too hard to attempt.
Latitude/ longitude coordinates for the rapids are approximate, from Google Maps satellite and terrain views.
What About Bob? is named after Bob Mackie. The beginning of the rapid is soon after the above unnamed rapid, but the tail end of the rapid can best be seen from the Big Eddy at the end of the carriage road. During the flow study we scouted and saw that, while runnable, the channel to the far river right is much more challenging than the center channel. Bob had decided to try to avoid the right channel. The problem is just above the rock that divides the river into those two channels is a funnel feature that really picks up speed through the rapid. Bob tried to make his way back to the left after the funnel, but failed. He was forced into the running the right channel. He disappeared from sight to all the others at the eddy above the funnel. Things went OK for him. I think he swam, but he wasn't the only one who swam at "What about Bob?" (I think I managed to stay in my boat until I washed into the Big Eddy before I swam.)