This section of the Stillwater River is mostly flatwater, but there is one significant whitwater section near the dam on Stillwater Avenue. The section below the dam is best run in the spring when the flows are high. By summer and autmun the flows are generally very low, and in the winter it is partially frozen.
After, Gilman Falls the river continues on through an almost entirely flatwater section for around 2.5 miles. After 2.5 miles the river comes to the Stillwater Avenue bridge. Just beyond the bridge (around 180ft) there is a large dam (around 20ft tall). Don't run the dam! The area around the bottom of the dam has some huge rocks and there is a large volume of water flowing over the dam. To the best of my knowledge no one has ever run this dam. Instead find an eddie on the left shore before the bridge or immediately after. Carry your boat across Stillwater Avenue and be sure to watch for traffic as this street is often quite busy. There is a small path that leads down below the dam (see portage photo).
The dificulty of this run is based on the water level. Unfortunately there is no river gauge along this portion of the Stillwater. Therefore, careful scouting is required before running. At higher levels (usually in the springtime) this can become a class IV- run with large waves and a high volume of water going over the ledges. At normal flows it is a class III run. At particulary low flows the difficulty can drop to around II+, but it also becomes much more rocky.
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Rapids below dam
Dam at low flows.
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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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