Most of this run is II-III, according to Squires' book, broken up by 40-50-foot Harper's Falls about 3 miles downstream of the Clare Road putin. Squires also points out that, if this is running, some of the V runs in the area will also be going.
The start of the section begins with a flatwater section that turns into mostly read and run class III wavetrains while dumping elavation before Harper's Falls. After the falls, there is one class III ledge followed by some class II/III wavetrains with some flatwater inbetween to finish off the run.
It is important to scout for wood, especially in early run off periods.
A longer section can be paddled if you head past Downerville take out and enter into the main section of the Grass and head down to the Russel take-out.
For a quicker paddle, which leaves out the upper section above Harper's Falls is possible too. For this section, when leaving the Downerville Take out, make a right and travel along the dirt road for 2-3 miles. On your right will be a DEC parking area with a yellow gate. Park here and hike (.5miles) along the trail to Harper's Falls, where you can put on and paddle the lower section.
Canton - Cranberry Lake Area Reaches
Boland Creek Elm Creek
Grass (1. Lampsons Falls to Downerville) Grass (2. Downerville to Russell)
Grass (3. Morley to Massena) Grass (4.Woods Bridge Road to Route 47)
Grass, Middle Branch Grass, North Branch
Grass, Upper South Branch Grass, Lower South Branch (Twin Falls)
Oswegatchie, E. Branch (2.) Oswegatchie, E. Branch (3.)
Oswegatchie, W. Branch Plumb Brook
Google Map of New York Whitewater
New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
The Horizon Line above the Falls is very noticable, Portaging these falls is easiest on the river right, along the pathway. The Falls have barely been run, so portaging is neccessary.
This can also be used as an Put-in/take-out to access the DEC parking lot on Downerville road.
This is a nice class II+/III drop around the bend from Harper's Falls. Scouting can be down either side of the river. A sneak line is available river right for easier passage. Portaging can also be done easily along the right banks of the river.
Season: April and May are generally the best months for the Grass, but Oct and Nov also offer windows of boatable flows following three or four days of good rain.
Flows: The USGS gauge on the Oswegatchie in Harrisville provides an "approximation". The benchmarks below have many variables, so make sure you assess each drop yourself.
If Harrisville guage is dropping add 150 cfs to the flows above.
Anything below 1800 will be a bit shallow in areas with some rock dogging and scrapping during the lower sections where the river widens, but will still be able to paddle.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Squires also suggests that very adventurous paddlers might want to put in 2.5 miles upstream, near the camps about Pelky's Falls (another big drop, which would require scouting). See new section on Gleason Rd. to Clare Rd.
Put in at Clare Rd. bridge (3.8 m. south of Russell-Pierrpont Turnpike, 4 m. north of Middle Branch bridge). Squires suggests putting in north of the bridge at a town building; saves some flatwater.
Take Out: (same take-out as running Lampson-Downerville) On Route 24 just north of the town of Russell boaters will see a NY state sign for Downerville, a no-longer existent town at the confluence of the N. branch of the Grasse with the Main branch. Coming from Russell, turn right (SE) onto dirt/gravel Donnerville road, this is just before a Transportation facility center, Continue on Donnerville road until you see an old cemetary on left, take the next right. Follow along the beaver pond, staying right at the fork then downhill to confluence. It is about a mile and a half from main road to take-out.
The road is shown on the map is in the wrong spot and is actually above the confluence of the north and main branches not below.
Downerville Take Out
Looking up from CCM
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