I don't know if they were the Alabamian paddlers that Commissioner Cowan warned us about, but sure enough the whitewater crowd descended on the remains of the Dillsboro Dam quicker than flies on a cow pile.
With the water flowing at a decent clip, it looked like they were having a lot of fun paddling through the notch that was cut out of the dam last week.
A hearty "Paddle or Die!" (or whatever you're supposed to say to cheer them on.)
River by river, old dams are being dismantled at a rate of about 40 a year, according to American Rivers, a nonprofit conservancy in Washington that advocates for dam removal. While that’s good news for fish and wildlife, it’s also benefiting paddlers like Mr. Kuthe who are flocking to these uncorked rivers in search of newly formed whitewater rapids and other paddling adventures.
Many of these dams were erected decades before kayaking and rafting became mainstream sports. So when a dam is dismantled and the water recedes, mysteries are revealed. Will a Class V rapid emerge from a drained reservoir? Will a trickling ravine turn into a gushing torrent or an impassible waterfall? First descents can be claimed, new challenges charted and overcome....
Tuckasegee River, Dillsboro Dam, North Carolina The Dillsboro Dam along North Carolina’s Tuckasegee River was approved for removal by the federal government in 2007. When it comes out, it will open up a Class II run and allow for a possible whitewater park (Dillsboro Merchants Association; www.visitdillsboro.org).