The Farmington is often run during the autumn drawdown of Otis Reservoir.
ChuckB, on the Northeast Paddlers' Massage Board, says: "This should be a fairly easy class II, although it is a lot more rocky and techical than Fife Brook. It is pretty steep for a class II, but the small volume keeps the pace slow. "Each of the sections (Bear's Den Section, New Boston Section, and Upper New Boston) is a couple/few miles long and any one or two or three of them can be run together. Those three harder spots are pretty cool, especially one that has a four foot drop 'cause you can watch your probe disappear for a moment before reappearing behind the horizon line (unless you are the probe). This is a great river to work on your eddy hopping and boat scouting skills. Keep an eye out for strainers as the narrowness of the river could easily make a strainer impassable. There is not much in they way of play on this river, but idiots like me still try as evidenced by the scratches on my helmet and the gouges in my boat. The release level is really boney, so pray for some rain to supplement it."
The Farmington releases come down out of Otis Reservoir. If you're looking for a bit of steep Class-V fun, check out Fall River. Check out the river description at the Farmington River Watershed Association website.
Directions from the center of Otis, Mass: you can put in at the bridge or continue south for another 1.5 miles to the intersection of Reservoir Road on your left. During the Fall release you can put in at a field approximately ¼ mile north of this intersection, where the release from Fall River comes into the Farmington. The takeout is approximately 2.5 miles south of Reservoir Road intersection on MA Rte. 8 by an iron bridge. For a map with directions, click on the "Directions" tab.
2010 Farmington / Fall River releases (Otis reservoir)
The water usually starts to be released very late on Friday or early morning on Saturday and continues spilling through the weekend until late afternoon on Sunday. Source for release schedule info: AMC, Boston chapter
Permits are not required for this reach.
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If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
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In response to requests by American Whitewater, several affiliates, and other stakeholders, FERC directed Brookfield Renewable to study the impact of its hydropower operations on whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. Boating groups and our supporters are seeking to determine optimal whitewater boating flows from the Fife Brook Dam and whether changes in hydropower operations would enhance boating opportunities, access and navigation.
American Whitewater, along with other paddling groups and outfitters, filed comments with FERC responding to the Whitewater Boating Evaluation at Turners Falls on the Connecticut River. The study showed that there is strong demand for boating on this section of the Connecticut River if sufficient flows, scheduled releases, better access, and real-time information are provided. The groups filed the comments in order to provide additional information for the environmental review and to respond to the unsupported statements by FirstLight, the utility performing the study, claiming that there is little demand for boating at Turners Falls.
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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