Bearcamp, New Hampshire, US
Bennett Corner to Whittier
||II-IV (for normal flows)
Gorge Exit Falls
Gorge Exit FallsPhoto of Mike Cummings by Mark Lacroix taken 08/11/03 @ 800 cfs
At the put in the Bearcamp is quickwater with a sandy bottom. Between here and where NH rt 25 comes
into view the river contains a couple of easy class II rapids. Once NH rt 25 comes into view the
action picks up. Cold Brook rapid (class III+) starts about 50 yards above a bridge. Cold Brook
enters on the right just above
the bridge. The section just past the bridge is the toughest. Below Cold Brook rapid the river
splits around an island. The right channel goes through a small narrow gorge with 20' vertical
walls. A relatively easy rapid leads to a sharp vertical drop of about 5' to 6' depending on water
levels. The left channel is easier but does not always have enough water to run without scratching.
Below the Gorge is a short flatwater section leading up to a delapitating concrete dam. This dam is
usually protaged but can be run in a break on the far right or far left through a steep sluice.
Scout this should you decide to run it since logs and other debris often clog the line. This dam is
slated to be removed by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services sometime in 2003.
The rest of the river contains a couple mostly class II-III the last one just above the takeout
being the toughest and longest.
Put in elevation........580'
Take out elevation......455'
River width average.....50'
1st mile drop...........15'
2nd mile drop...........55'
3rd mile drop...........35'
3.5 mile drop...........20' (40' average)
River geology...........granite ledge, small boulders
River water quality.....Good to excellent, clarity excellent.
Scenery.................A mix of wooded isolated scenery to small town
with small homes and camps. Old concrete dam.
Wildlife................Deer, hawks, merganzers.
Bearcamp dam removal
Dam removal ceremony at the Bearcamp dam Tamworth NH on September 10, 2003. About a dozen
paddlers from MVP, MWVP, and AMC showed up at the dam removal ceremonies for the Bearcamp dam
located on the Bearcamp river in Tamworth NH. Work has started on removal of the dam. Estimates for
completion are about 8 weeks. Located at the mid point of the Bearcamp river run the dam was
occasionally unrunable because of woody debris. Paddlers used to run the river left or right sluice
depending on debris. The mid section of the dam continued to collect logs and other debris causing
concern with state and federal agencies over the potential for disaster should the blockage
suddenly let go during a high water event. New Hampshire is leading the way with an active river
restoration program that includes removal of old unused dams. This is the third such dam of notable
size to be removed. The other two were taken out of the Ashuelot river last year. The dam consists
of eight 20-foot high concrete piers with a foundation resting on bedrock, and is approximately 230
feet long. The concrete will be removed and recycled at a New Highway department facility; the wood
will be brought to a stump dump. All rebar and unnatural material will be removed. Fish and
wildlife are looking forward to the return of landlock salmon to the upper reaches of the Bearcamp.
Paddlers are looking forward to paddling a restored stretch of river. The town of Tamworth can feel
a little safer without a potential dam break. The dam removal will change the rapids in this
section and potentially the gorge rapid just above. It is too early to say by how much at this
time. Several newspapers were on hand today so there should be lots of stories in tomorrow's
newspapers. NH public television was also there to do a story for their "Outlook" program. Amongst
the long list of supporters for the dam removal project is American Whitewater and the Merrimack
Valley Paddlers. Thanks to all the hard work George May has put into this. Stephanie Lindhoff of
NHDES says the Contoocook dam project looks good for October. Dynamite will be used to breach this
one. We hope to get lots of paddlers there for this event. We will let you know.
During a recent outing on the Bearcamp, the owner of the property on
which paddlers park for the take-out expressed his dissatisfaction
for the way in which vehicles were parking. Although our parked
vehicles were off to one side of the drive (toward the river), they
were near the road.
Because the owner parks a large tractor-trailer on the site, he
needs access to the full horseshoe loop of the driveway for ease of
parking. He's asking that if paddlers wish to continue using the
parking area at the take-out, they park at least a couple of (long?)
car-lengths from the road, toward the riverside of the parking
area. It's great that he's willing to let us continue using the
area, so let's try to abide by his wishes.
(via Jim Roseberry)
Put in (from interstate 95 Portsmouth)
Interstate 95 to NH 16 in Portsmouth.
NH 16 north approximately 60 miles.
Left on NH route 25.
Go west on NH 25 for approximately 7 miles to the intersection of 113 (note this is the second
intersection with 113 at BennettÂs Corner past South Tamworth
Turn right on NH 113 approximately Â½ mile to put in at bridge.
Put in (from interstate 93 Concord)
Interstate 93 north to exit 23 approximately 30 miles.
NH route 25 east through Meredith approximately 28 miles
Turn left on NH 113 approximately Â½ mile to put in at bridge.
Head back to NH 25.
Take a left (east) on NH 25 approximately 3 miles
Take a left on NH route 113
113 parallels the river for a short distance then turns left over a bridge over the river, park
downstream of the bridge on river right.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-04-18 22:11:52