Sandusky - 2. Ballville Dam to golf course


Sandusky, Ohio, US

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2. Ballville Dam to golf course

Usual Difficulty II(III) (for normal flows)
Length 0.3 Miles

learning on the Sandusky


learning on the Sandusky
Photo of Jay by Dan taken 1987 @ 800cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Sandusky River near Fremont OH
usgs-04198000 800 - 3000 cfs II(III) 00h56m 64 cfs (too low)


River Description

Sandusky River

Photo. Last rapid before take out, at 800 cfs.


Put in below the Ballville dam on the river left. The far right channel has the most water and runs next to a rock cliff. The rapids are mostly class II at medium flows and could be class III at higher flows.

The rapids continue down to the golf course. After you go under a bridge you pass the old power station on your left, there is one more nice rapid. After this the take out is on the river left.

Thanks to Doug Grosjean, a local paddler for the following information

Put-in: Ballville Dam Take-out: Rodger W. Young Mem. Park: Distance: 1.1 Miles

Runnable levels:

Min. I'm guessing around 1,000 CFS. But if the Sandusky is at 1,000 CFS it's not very big or very fun. Meanwhile the Maumee is probably high at the same time that the Sandusky is coming up, so local boates rarely do the Sandusky at low levels.

Max. I've run it in excess of 10,000 CFS, but a swim would be a very fast flush while trying to dodge brush. You'd likely have to swim into the flatwater at the Rodger W. Young Memorial Park before you could exit the river. If you're good and paddling well, it is a BIG fun run with big waves and really fast water. You get maybe one shot at surfing each wave, and the run is over so fast that multiple runs are the way to go at high water.

Directions to Ballville from US-20, OH-53 South, State St. East, S. Front St. South, Go under steel railroad span Take RH fork, Tiffin St. Go south on Tiffin St. past: Rodger W. Young Memorial Park, Water Treatment Plant, Thornwood Golf Course, Haunted Hydro, Bridge, Dam

Park near the dam. Follow various trails to the river on river left. There's a small spit of rock on river left below the dam. Put in either above or below it, but beware: putting in above forces you into a large arcing upstream ferry / surf in heavy current to dodge the strainers that are in place on that spit. There's a large eddy below the spit on river left as you come over the ledge. Leaving that eddy, and at high levels there are some big waves down this channel. Eddy out behind the island on your right, and look around. At most levels, there are good surf waves to the right of the island. You may have to work a bit to attain them, though. Drop down, and there's a river-wide diagonal ledge that offers some nice wave surfing at medium and high levels. Pass under the bridge, there's a break in the action. Then continuing downstream, there's a nice eddy on river left at the abandoned hydro plant. There's an island just below. Take LH channel, run through nice surf waves, and eddy right next to island in order to surf the standing waves there for a good time. But if you flush off the surf waves accidentally, you'll suddenly be running the final rapid... Just below the standing waves is the final rapid, a big (5'-6' at high water) crashing wave. Run it anywhere, it's strange no matter where you run it. Paddle through the flatwater pool after the final rapid. Watch for dirt cliffs on river right, shortly after that is the dike surrounding Rodger W. Young Memorial Park in Fremont on the left. Take out river left, walk over the dike.

Access:

Land near Ballville Dam has been used as fishing and boating access in the past. Currently there are signs saying "Fishing Area Closed", but locals continue to fish and party and litter in the brush there.

Access at Thornwood Golf Course has varied over the years. It used to be free, then it changed to free if you asked politely, and currently there's an access fee charged to use the golf course land for river access for fishing or boating. The riverbanks at the golf course are steep and eroding, so exiting the river at the golf course isn't easy or reccomended.

Access at Rodger W. Young is free and fun; you can use your kayak to sled down the dike into the parking lot after boating.

Other Ballville info:

The Ballville Dam was built to supply water to the hydro plant downstream, via a large steel pipe along the left bank. That plant has been closed since the 1940's, and in recent years there's been discussions on removing the dam. Fishermen and environmentalists are in favor of removing the dam, but the EPA is concerned about pollutants trapped in the sediments behind the dam so the dam's future status is in limbo. Logic and anecdotal stories from old-timers suggest there's good whitewater behind the dam. It's about 1.5 miles from the shallows at Tindall Bridge to 30' Ballville Dam, so there are some drops hidden under that sediment. Maybe someday I'll be able to write about a brand-new stretch of Northwest Ohio whitewater... Doug

If you have more info and would like to add to this page you can e-mail me and we can update this page.

The Maumee River is only 30 min. away and has a fun 5 mile run or P+P at Turkyfoot
The Upper Sandusky River at Tiffin is only 15 min. away and can be fun too.



StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2004-12-07 22:51:10

Editors


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 12 2010 (2778 days ago)
joe_helle (152633)
Per the Fremont Examiner, the Ballville Dam is scheduled to be removed sometime in 2011, and
through to 2013.
December 31 2008 (3855 days ago)
x (1)
I'VE RAN THE RIVER AT 14,000CFS, (CRAZY HIGH WATER) WHAT A RIDE. NICE SURFING ALONG THIS STRETCH.
SHORT BUT FUN! ~JUSTIN HELD~
August 29 2001 (6169 days ago)
CHRIS ERHARDDetails
I HAVE RUN THE RIVER AT 2200 CFS AND IT IS AWESOME! THE LAST RAPID BEFORE THE TAKE OUT AFTER THE
'HAUNTED HYDRO' OR OLD POWER STATION TURNS INTO A HUGE WAVE TRAIN THAT TOWERS OVER YOU AS YOUR IN
ONE OF THE TROUGHS.


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