Some of the best bigwater wave surfing in the eastern U.S. can be found below Holtwood Dam on Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River. When water spills over the dam each spring, roughly a dozen different waves are formed in this huge channel, attracting paddlers from across the region. The rapids at Holtwood are all that is left of what was likely many miles of rapids now buried below reservoirs created by Conowingo and Holtwood dams.
The operator of Holtwood Dam on the Susquehanna River (PA) proposed to significantly change the operations on the dam and the shape of the river channel downstream of the dam. As originally planned, this project would have destroyed a valuable whitewater recreational resource. American Whitewater joined and assisted a group of paddlers that formed to work with the dam operator on a revised plan. A settlement agreement was negotiated that lead to an amended FERC license that protected most of Holtwood's great whitewater features and mitigate the loss of others with the construction of a whitewater park and provision of 264 releases annually.
The schedule for the first year of operation of the Holtwood Whitewater Park has been posted on the dam owner's website. American Whitewater and our local partners negotiated the construction of the park and 264 hours of releases annually as mitigation for impacts of the Holtwood Hydroelectric Project. The first scheduled release is on Saturday March 14, 2015.
Anticipation was running high for the first public dam releases on the newly constructed Holtwood Whitewater Park this fall, however the final round of testing in early October revealed more work was needed before opening the park. Testing and modifications are ongoing, and we'll release a schedule of releases early next year. The good news is that the waves are going to be incredible.
Earlier this week the owner of the Holtwood Hydroelectric Project on the Susquehanna River (PA) initiated a construction process that will result in two sizeable whitewater waves at the base of a defunct fish ladder on the west side of the dam. Once completed, the waves will be activated by 264 hours of scheduled water releases each year as well as by significant periods of spill. The waves will provide for high quality freestyle kayak surfing opportunities. Construction is anticipated to be complete by year end, and releases should begin no later than the summer of 2013.
On December 15th, 2011, the owner of Holtwood Dam on the Susquehanna River submitted a whitewater boating plan to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval. The plan calls for two new whitewater features to be built immediately downstream of Holtwood Dam along the York County side of the Susquehanna River at the base of a defunct fish ladder. It is anticipated that the construction of the features will occur in 2012, and will be fully operational in 2013.
The contacts below include staff and volunteers working on this project. Make sure you are logged in if you wish to join the group.
|Aw-regional-coordinator||Chris Iverson||Wrightsville PA||Details...|
|Aw-staff-lead||Kevin Colburn||Missoula MT||Details...|
Holtwood Project Back on the Table (PA)
April 13, 2009
Dam Owner Pulls Plug On Holtwood Expansion (PA)
December 9, 2008
Agreement in Principle Reached on the Susquehanna (PA)
April 16, 2008
Holtwood Public Meetings Planned for April (PA)
April 8, 2008
New Project Threatens Holtwood Playspots (PA)
March 28, 2006
Chris Iverson: August AW Volunteer of the Month!
August 1, 2006
Final Holtwood Plan Ready For Federal Approval (PA)
January 3, 2012
Wave Construction at Holtwood (PA) Begins
August 9, 2012
Holtwood Whitewater Park to Open in 2015 (PA)
December 15, 2014