The highly decorated work of American Whitewater can find its roots in upstate New York, namely in the fight to save the Moose River. In the early 80’s a band of dirt bag paddlers (Chris Koll, Pete Skinner and others) bonded together on a common issue: the damming of many of New York’s rivers.
Over years that followed, these battles helped to shape the way the AW works with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and, set an example that still provides recreational releases on rivers across the United States. Check out the summary of these events in Currents Moose River Part 1& Moose River Part 2.
Use it or lose it. With the ink dry on the negotiated schedule for recreational dam releases, it was important to bring people to the Moose River. The brainchild of Chris Koll; Moosefest became a reality. The annual whitewater festival held in Old Forge, NY the weekend after Thanksgiving (Canadian) has been going strong since the mid-nineties, bringing hundreds of boaters to benefit from one of the last whitewater days of the season.
Paddlers flock from all over the Northeast to huck themselves down Fowlersville Falls, a 50 ft slide that gets your heart pumping early in the day; or Agers, one of the cleanest waterfalls you’ll find. (The cold water just might help cure a hangover from the previous night's shenanigans).
As much a social event as a paddling festival, Moosefest is no stranger to Canadians either, and many will cross the border to hang out on the Moose and paddle this classic river.
A few things to consider when coming to Moosefest:
Temperature: It can be cold and for many people who paddle the warm summer rivers, a shock to the system. One option is the Barrier Drysuit . This will help keep you warm and is a very worthwhile investment for us in the North who would like to extend the paddling season early into the spring and late into the fall.
2. River running: Many in the Ottawa Valley spend the entire summer in a play boat. The Jackson Heroor Super Hero is a great way to transition easily for a intermediate paddler to a river running style. It is sturdy and easy to control. It also has the volume and feel of a creek boat with not all the displacement and size.
3. Protection: I have seen people get hurt on this river and it is best to protect yourself. I like the Sweet Wanderer personally but if you want to take it one step further, a full face helmet (Sweet Rocker FF) may be your choice. This will not only protect you, but will also instill a level of confidence to tackle harder rapids.
Also, elbows really hurt when you hit rocks. Protect them. Level Six Elbow Armor, NRS Elbow Pads
Moosefest is a great time. It is a party on and off the river. Hope to see you there!!
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