Annual West River Release Bittersweet (VT)
Paddlers from throughout New England converged on Jamaica State Park in southern Vermont last weekend for the annual release on the West River. The annual one day release, held the last weekend in September, is the only remaining scheduled release by the Army Corps of Engineers from the Ball Mountain Dam. Over the past two decades, the Corps has eliminated 5 of 6 scheduled releases from the dam, depriving the paddlers of opportunities to paddle this treasured river and harming the local community of the economic benefits that it enjoyed when there were two day releases in the spring and fall. Despite the discontinuition of efforts to restore Atlantic Salmon to the Connecticut River Basin last year, the Corps has not restored the srping releases.
Spirits were running high as approximately 800 boaters and an additional 300 commercial rafters enjoyed the warm fall day. In past years when there were two day releases, the number paddlers coming up to the West Fest was double the number who come out for single day release. AW is continuing its efforts to restore releases to the West River.