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West Fork Tuck (NC) Release Info and Schedule

Posted: 07/24/2013
by Kevin Colburn

In a normal year, flow in the West Fork of the Tuckasegee is totally controlled by Duke Energy's Thorpe Dam.  2013 was not a normal year.  Prolonged powerhouse maintenance coupled with massive quantities of rain resulted in high flows barrelling through the normally de-watered river.  Most recently, the stream experienced an estimated 2,600 cfs over the fourth of July weekend, prompting the cancellation of a recreation flow release planned for July 6th.

The next scheduled release is this weekend, July 27, 2013.  Initial reports are that the high flows have moved a lot of wood around, and significantly changed at least one rapid (the second boulder garden below the put-in - see photo).  Wood has been spotted in the mini-gorge that is the crux of the run, downstream of the (private) Cullowhee Forest bridge.  Once again, paddling the West Fork will be a high-commitment trip into the unknown, with a high likelihood of significant wood-related hazards.  Be extra careful if you choose to paddle the West Fork this weekend.  

American Whitewater has worked with Duke Energy to reschedule the cancelled July 6th release on August 11, 2013.  This change will offer paddlers a two-day weekend of releases (August 10 and 11).  It will also give advanced paddlers a chance to assess and share news of the wood situation prior to the two-day release.

Statistically at least, flows and wood should be more stable in the West Fork in years to come.  For now, be extra careful out there.   

Associated Projects

Tuckasegee Relicensing (NC)
AW signed a settlement calling for new dam releases, sweeping conservation measures, new access, and the removal of Dillsboro Dam in North Carolina.

Associated Rivers