There is a nice section of the Ware R. in Gilbertville that has 2 miles of class II-III rapids when the water is high enough. Runs under a covered bridge midway. It is described in the AMC whitewater guide. In the past, when the Quabog is at 5' the Ware is nice and runnable, but this is not necessarily the case, because the Ware is controled by Barre Falls dam. A longer run of 8 miles is possible that includes the rapids makes a pleasant combination quickwater/flatwater/whitewater trip, very scenic, especially in fall foliage. Put in is where the river goes under Hardwick Road. That is Mass Access site 188 (Mass. Office of Fishing and Boating Access#188 PDF). Three or four miles of flatwater later the rapids start above Gilbertville.
Take out in Gilbertville and see where the river goes under Rt 32. The Gilbertville access, near the bottom of the rapids is site 187 (Mass. Office of Fishing and Boating Access#187 PDF). You can also take out on Church street through someones field. That is posted 'No Trespassing' and has been used to dump trash and drink judging from the TV's and bottles left behind. While paddlers have had no problems, this takeout is not recommended. It might be possible to take out at Greenville Park in Ware, roughly 3 miles past the rapids. There may be another Mass Access site in that location. For just the rapids, put in at 42.305162N, -72.19363W. This is on the left bank, just above the RR bridge where the rapids begin, on Gilbertville Road. There is a small parking space across the road, and the river is immediately beside the road down a bank. Take out at the bridge on Upper Church Street two miles down at 42.284857N, -72.215874W. You don't have to traipse through the field (a grass landing strip). There is a path immediately after the bridge on river left that goes up the bank and you hop the bridge guardrail and are on the road, about 30 feet of carrying. There is a sign on the adjoining chainlink fence that says "shore fishing allowed, please clean up afterward". There isn't much parking along here, the shoulder is narrow because of the fence, so you might have to leave cars somewhere else nearby... For the longer trip, put in at 42.343095N, -72.157431W, a canoe launch on Rt.32 beside the intersection and bridge of Harwick Road. Takeout is at 42.267571N, -72.227046W, a boat ramp/ fishing area in Grennville Park. The whitewater run is short, but you can do it a few times. You can walk the distance back to the put-in if you're without a shuttle vehicle. (There's backroad shortcuts on the map across the loop the river makes.) There is also a canoe launch next to the Rt. 32 bridge in Gilbertville, midway down the rapids at 42.757775N, -71.463903W, and a straight walk back to the put-in.
Four of us did the Ware whitewater Sun Jun 3 when the level was around 630 CFS. At that level you'll have fun but still be bumping submerged rocks on occasion. One guy tipped over just past the covered bridge and the boat swamped and then got pinned on a rock. Eventually he got it freed and we recovered everything.
10 years ago
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In response to requests by American Whitewater, several affiliates, and other stakeholders, FERC directed Brookfield Renewable to study the impact of its hydropower operations on whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. Boating groups and our supporters are seeking to determine optimal whitewater boating flows from the Fife Brook Dam and whether changes in hydropower operations would enhance boating opportunities, access and navigation.
American Whitewater, along with other paddling groups and outfitters, filed comments with FERC responding to the Whitewater Boating Evaluation at Turners Falls on the Connecticut River. The study showed that there is strong demand for boating on this section of the Connecticut River if sufficient flows, scheduled releases, better access, and real-time information are provided. The groups filed the comments in order to provide additional information for the environmental review and to respond to the unsupported statements by FirstLight, the utility performing the study, claiming that there is little demand for boating at Turners Falls.
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
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