A few of us ran Marsh Creek July 24, 2018 from Marsh Creek Road to Mason Dixon Road. The level was 7' on the stick gauge on Marsh Creek at the Mason Dixon road bridge, almost 4,000 cfs on the Monocacy gauge. At this level the run is quite exciting. The section just above Natural Dam is quite continuous class III-IV, chucked full of large retentive holes, boiling eddy lines, and fun wave trains. We ran Natural dam far right next to the bank. At this level several spots open up on the dam and appear runnable. If you run it elsewhere make sure to hit it with speed, get a good boof stroke, and paddle hard at the bottom as the dam forms a very sticky hydraulic. One of our crew ran the "normal" line on the right and nearly got caught in the hydraulic. If getting on at this level a solid roll is recommended as swims can be fairly difficult and quite hazardous with all of the strainers.
Just a note--when we ran this today, the campground owner no longer allowed boaters to park at the campground because of liability. Had to choose an alternate put-in at a gravel lot on the right hand side a bit further down Marsh Creek road, but I believe this may have eliminated the first low-head dam and some flatwater. Nice run.
Use Bridgeport gauge (MD) just downstream - 400 cfs is your zero. [Jug Bridge, 35 miles further downstream and with over 10x the streamflow - gives late and imperfect info.] After Rte 15 comes Harper Hill, a 3-part Cl. III large-boulder rapid - followed by a long pool and then a 2-part Cl. II+ rapid. Next, Natural Dam - ca 3-ft high (on the right) can be run (on the right).
- Alf Cooley
This gage is on the Monocacy, and thus is only a rough guide to the runnability of Marsh. Use it with discretion!
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Left Dam on Marsh Creek
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This past fall American Whitewater met with Ohiopyle State Park managers to discuss possible updates to their whitewater paddling regulations. The first topic was to change the rules governing raft sizes at different water levels to recognize the capabilities of self-bailing rafts. Shorter self-bailing boats will now be allowed to run the river at high water. Some small changes to the regulations will make Ohiopyle Falls more accessible to paddlers. A change in the way the gauge is interpreted should make the falls "legal" on more days. Although whitewater paddlers are only one part of the vast public that visits the park, every effort was made to accommodate them while avoiding user conflicts and safety hazards. Special thanks goes to Ken Bisbee, Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager and John Hallas, a former Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager who is now Director of State Parks. Click here to read the updated Ohiopyle River Regulations:
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