Savage - 2. Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River


Savage, Maryland, US

Disclaimer

2. Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River (Site of World Championships)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 4.25 Miles
Avg. Gradient 75 fpm
Max Gradient 115 fpm

Savage!


Savage!
Photo of Al Button by Ken Strickland

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
SAVAGE RIV BL SAVAGE RIV DAM NEAR BLOOMINGTON, MD
usgs-01597500 350 - 1800 cfs III-IV 01h55m 193 cfs (too low)


River Description

Whitewater Releases:

American Whitewater is working aggressively to obtain regularly scheduled recreational whitewater releases (600 - 1000 cfs) for the second weekend of each month between June and September. This is contingent upon water availability and UPRC cooperation.

These efforts have worked very succesfully in the past, and have resulted in water releases for recreational purposes. However in 2009, the following text was posted on the Army Corps of Engineers Website: "Constraints have been placed on operations at Savage River Dam during the 2009 season due to a malfunctioning outlet gate. These constraints may result in a wider than normal range of lake elevations along with a slight increase in the possibility of flow over the spillway." You can view the text at their website.

2011 Releases:
6/5, 7/3, and 9/25

River Information


SOURCE FOR THE FOLLOWING TEXT: William Nealy's Whitewater Home Companion, Southern Rivers Volume I, which has more on this run. Text used with permission.

The Savage is THE whitewater rocket ride! With an average gradient of 75 feet per mile (with sections exceeding 100 fpm) the action is fast and continuous. The Savage's overall difficulty rating below 800 cfs is Class III-IV. At 800 - 1,200 cfs it is Class IV. Above 1,200 cfs the Savage is the longest Class IV-V rapid in Maryland!! Due to the steep, narrow and unrelenting nature of this run paddlers should be: 1) Well insulated (water temp 46), 2) Adept at fast self-rescue and wave-crest scouting, and 3) In possession of paddling skills commensurate with water levels... below 800 cfs - intermediate to advanced, 800 - 1,200 cfs - advanced to expert, above 1,200 cfs - expert only.

Savage River Road follows along the entire 4.25 mile run. At approx. mile 1.5 and just before the swinging bridge that marks the end of the slalom course there is a large undercut rock (House Rock) on river left.

The takeout is on the North Branch of the Potomac just upstream of the confluence. Please respect the locals and refrain from drinking or changing clothes in the open, here. The putin is just minutes up the road and its relative remoteness lends itself to these activities.

Another good source of information about this run is Ed Gertler's Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-08-14 12:35:34

Editors



Savage 89 Worlds Dana Chaldek

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Dana Chaldek  Savage, md(45.72KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 2

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 2  Savage, md(30.35KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 3

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 3  Savage, md(43.36KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 4

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 4  Savage, md(50.35KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 5

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 5  Savage, md(38.80KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Eric Jackson

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Eric Jackson  Savage, md(46.81KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 1

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 1  Savage, md(75.82KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 2

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 2  Savage, md(59.23KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 3

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 3  Savage, md(61.11KB .jpeg)

Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 1

Detail Trip Report  Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 1  Savage, md(53.09KB .jpeg)

Savage!

Detail Trip Report  Savage!  Savage, MD(49.84KB .jpeg)

Savage Strainer

Detail Trip Report  Savage Strainer  Savage, MD(80.02KB .jpeg)

Savage River Slalom 1976

Detail Trip Report  Savage River Slalom 1976  Savage, MD(43.58KB .jpeg)

Savage River Slalom 1976

Detail Trip Report  Savage River Slalom 1976  Savage, MD(62.07KB .jpeg)

Savage River Slalom 1976

Detail Trip Report  Savage River Slalom 1976  Savage River, MD(46.64KB .jpeg)

Savage in the race course

Detail Trip Report  Savage in the race course  Savage, MD(157.06KB .jpeg)

Savage at 3000 cfs

Detail Trip Report  Savage at 3000 cfs  Savage, MD(198.97KB .jpeg)

John Hefti at the Savage Races, 1973

Detail Trip Report  John Hefti at the Savage Races, 1973  Savage, MD(73.76KB .jpeg)

Great fun!

Detail Trip Report  Great fun!  Savage River, MD(1.01MB .jpeg)

Yet another great drop.

Detail Trip Report  Yet another great drop.  Savage River, MD(338.17KB .jpeg)

Dam!

Detail Trip Report  Dam!  Savage River, MD(171.93KB .jpeg)

Above Memorial Rock

Detail Trip Report  Above Memorial Rock  Savage, MD(184.27KB .jpeg)

Memorial Rock

Detail Trip Report  Memorial Rock  Savage, MD(126.91KB .jpeg)

SAVAGE DAM Release BRIAN HALL

Detail Trip Report  SAVAGE DAM Release BRIAN HALL  @Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, MD(1.42MB .jpeg)

SAVAGE DAM Release BILLY BURSON

Detail Trip Report  SAVAGE DAM Release BILLY BURSON  @Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, MD(1.80MB .jpeg)

Slalom ca. 1973

Detail Trip Report  Slalom ca. 1973  @Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, MD(1.53MB .jpeg)

Life long memories

Detail Trip Report  Life long memories  @Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, MD(6.65MB .jpeg)

Carrie Ashton, Savage Races, 1974

Detail Trip Report  Carrie Ashton, Savage Races, 1974  @Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, MD(47.23KB .jpeg)

Charlie Walbridge, Savage Races, 1973

Detail Trip Report  Charlie Walbridge, Savage Races, 1973  @Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, MD(57.21KB .jpeg)

John Sweet

Detail Trip Report  John Sweet   @Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, MD(421.43KB .jpeg)

First Person View of Memorial Rock Rapid

Detail Trip Report  First Person View of Memorial Rock Rapid  @Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, MD(65.82KB .jpeg)


Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

Whitewater Releases:

American Whitewater is working aggressively to obtain regularly scheduled recreational whitewater releases (600 - 1000 cfs) for the second weekend of each month between June and September. This is contingent upon water availability and UPRC cooperation.

These efforts have worked very succesfully in the past, and have resulted in water releases for recreational purposes. However in 2009, the following text was posted on the Army Corps of Engineers Website: "Constraints have been placed on operations at Savage River Dam during the 2009 season due to a malfunctioning outlet gate. These constraints may result in a wider than normal range of lake elevations along with a slight increase in the possibility of flow over the spillway." You can view the text at their website.

2011 Releases:
6/5, 7/3, and 9/25

WHAT IS PLANNED REGARDING RECREATIONAL RELEASES?

American Whitewater is working aggressively to obtain regularly scheduled recreational whitewater releases (600 - 1000 cfs) for the second weekend of each month between June and September. This is contingent upon water availability and UPRC cooperation.

DO NOT DESPAIR while you wait for scheduled releases. THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES in the spring when high water events get through the dam and bring the river up to runable levels. Most of the spring rain and snowmelt is held back by the reservoir but some events are significant enough to prompt the Dam folks to release runable levels of water.

During the spring 2002 season there were 15 DAYS that saw water levels above 400 cfs during daylight hours. Of these days 7 were above 600 and 2 were above 1000 cfs. (there was no evidence in the 2002 records to suggest that navigable water was held back for night release)

These events are most likely to happen in MARCH, APRIL, and MAY. I don't have the research to back this up but the days that the Savage is running may correlate to days when high water has blown-out your other favorite runs.

My suggestion if you want to log a run or two in on the Savage is to remember what you just read and check the gauge after these big events.

Finally, the race events normally occur around 1,000 cfs.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
SAVAGE RIV BL SAVAGE RIV DAM NEAR BLOOMINGTON, MD
usgs-01597500 350 - 1800 cfs III-IV 01h55m 193 cfs (too low)

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
350 - 400 cfs barely runnable-med runnable III-IV
400 -1100 cfs med runnable-a bit pushy runnable III-IV
1100 -1800 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable III-IV

Report - Reports of Savage 2. Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

Reports

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Savage [MD] Savage! n/a Matt Muir
Savage [md] Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 3 n/a Jason Robertson
3y143d12h25m /Savage-Dam to North Branch Potomac River [MD] First Person View of Memorial Rock Rapid 900 cfs Colin Abernethy
6y21d08h10m /Savage-Dam to North Branch Potomac River [MD] Life long memories 1000 cfs John Alden
6y139d01h05m /Savage-Dam to North Branch Potomac River [MD] John Sweet 3000 cfs Bill Kirby
6y139d01h15m /Savage-Dam to North Branch Potomac River [MD] Slalom ca. 1973 n/a Bill Kirby
7y111d01h08m /Savage-Dam to North Branch Potomac River [MD] SAVAGE DAM Release BRIAN HALL 1000 cfs 153328
7y111d01h33m /Savage-Dam to North Branch Potomac River [MD] SAVAGE DAM Release BILLY BURSON 1000 cfs 153328
> 10 years Savage [MD] Memorial Rock 3.00ft, 861cfs Patricia Hachick
> 10 years Savage River [MD] Yet another great drop. 350cfs Chris Brock
> 10 years Savage [MD] Savage in the race course 350 cfs Bill Kirby
> 10 years Savage [MD] Savage Strainer n/a Matt Muir
> 10 years Savage River [MD] Savage River Slalom 1976 n/a Ken and Fran Strickland
> 10 years Savage [MD] Savage River Slalom 1976 n/a Ken and Fran Strickland
> 10 years /Savage-Dam to North Branch Potomac River [MD] Charlie Walbridge, Savage Races, 1973 0 cfs Bill Kirby
> 10 years Savage [MD] John Hefti at the Savage Races, 1973 2500-3000 cfs Bill Kirby

WXPort

News



User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 1 2015 (1236 days ago)
Colin AbernethyDetails
Ran this reach during the release on 05/29/15. Log mentioned by the previous commenter at memorial
rock had been removed by the ASCI crew prior to the event. Great run even though the release was
600CFS less than last year. The shuttle lines were extremely long and the release was only 4 hours,
so you had to get on early to get two or more runs in. Full-length video of our first run can be
found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr1kkONLEVo
April 26 2015 (1272 days ago)
Chris PreperatoDetails
Ran it at 260cfs and it actually wasn't that scrapy, the stretch from the Putin to corner rapid
could probably be run even lower, like 200cfs. There's a log most of the way across at memorial
rock. Probably underwater at full release, but it'd be dangerous to a swimmer
October 22 2009 (3284 days ago)
x (1)
With the construction stalling releases can anyone local or with experience give us a description
around ~250? AW now shows it as green. Are we talking a fun ELF or ass scraping level 2? I've run
the Savage once during a release weekend and it's a hell of a ride. What's it like at lower levels?
July 21 2008 (3742 days ago)
x (1)
Steve Ettinger: Don't take the 349 cfs indicated as the real zero level. It can be run comfortably
down to around 250 cfs, as indicated in the rankings of river difficulties accessible from the MCC
home page, and from the earlier comment posted here about recreational releases of 300 cfs.
June 5 2006 (4519 days ago)
Robert FarmerDetails
A few years ago, the old lady who lives near the dam (the dam-keeper's wife?) screamed at me that
she would call the police if I tried to put in below the dam. What's with that?! Just FYI. I put in
lower.
August 16 2004 (5177 days ago)
BradRDetails
The North Branch Potomac Whitewater Release Schedule for 2004<br />
<br />
April 10 and 11<br />
April 24 and 25<br />
May 8 and 9<br />
May 22 and 23 <br />
Large releases suitable for whitewater recreation may be scheduled for several other weekends
during the summer and fall, provided sufficient water is available. These weekends will be
announced about two to four weeks in advance on this website, or on a telephone recording at (410)
962-7687.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />
NEW<br />
There are plans for an Artificially Varied Flow (AVF) release beginning on August 14, 2004 at 10 AM
and lasting until August 15, 2004 at noon. AVF flows are scheduled periodically to help improve
downstream habitat. The release rate will be 850 cfs from Jennings Randolph Lake,<b> with a
corresponding release of 350 cfs from Savage River Dam.<br /></b>
Additional AVF releases are being considered for September 11-12 and October 9-10, 2004. More
information will be provided here at a later date.<br />
The Thursday afternoon releases have been cancelled due to lack of interest!<br />
Smaller recreational releases of 300 cubic feet per second are scheduled to occur from 10:30 AM
until 2:30 PM each Thursday from July 15 until August 26.<br />
<br />
Additionally, attempts will be made to avoid large releases during selected weekends, unless such
releases are required as a result of highwater conditions, downstream water supply needs, or
unforeseen circumstances. These weekends are as follows: April 3-4 and 17-18; May 1-2, 15-16, and
29-30; June 12-13 and 26-27; July 10-11 and 24-25; August 7-8 and 21-22; September 4-5 and 18-19;
and October 2-3 and 23-24. <br />
Releases from Jennings Randolph Lake are made for a variety of purposes and are subject to increase
or decrease without prior notice. <br />
<br />
The whitewater releases are sponsored by the Mineral County Parks and Recreation Commission. They
can be reached for further information at (304) 788-5732.<br />
August 16 2004 (5177 days ago)
BradRDetails
A group from DC recently ran the Savage on a release of 350cfs and found the stream navigable. The
paddled creekboats.
May 24 2004 (5261 days ago)
Mike CroakDetails
Paddled the Savage 5/22/04 at 1000 cfs. Dangerous strainers approximately 1/4 downstream of 5' dam
(in middle of run). Trees down on each side of the river give the false appearance that the middle
line might runnable. It's not. Eddy out before you get to these trees. There is another tree in the
water behind them that you cannot see until it is too late.
April 13 2003 (5668 days ago)
Sam mershonDetails
STRAINER ALERT!!! Towards the end of this run there is a rapid with an island in the middle. both
channels are blocked with wood. You can identify this rapid by a blue warehouse on river left. I
highly suggest scouting this from the bank or the road. unless conditions improve it is highly
advisable to walk this one.

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.

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Join_or_Renew_Logo-200px

Join or Renew


Or, consider donating

Donate_Logo-200px

Donate


General Nonmember Message

Associated News

Savage Release Sept 9th!
September 4, 2007

Three Savage River Releases Scheduled for this Summer
June 1, 2012

Savage River Release July 4th!
June 14, 2010


August 25, 2010

Changes for 2011 Savage River Releases (MD)
January 5, 2011


Events

Savage River Release Saturday the 29th 09:20 AM to 09:20 AM EST
  (iCal)  


 reach  
 state  
 reachlink  
 2. Savage Dam to North Branch Potomac River, Savage Maryland, US (mobile)