February 11

Skowhegan selectmen get a look at Run of River whitewater park concept

The $4.3 million project in the Kennebec Gorge downtown would provide sport for kayakers, rafters and canoeists and bring and economic boost to the town, officials say.

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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WATER WORKS: Fast water in the Kennebec River flows at the beginning of the Kennebec Gorge in Skowhegan as seen from the walking bridge looking upriver from where the Run of River park would be.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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RUN OF RIVER: An artist’s rendering shows how the kayak course at the poroposed Run of River park in Kennebec Gorge in Skowhegan would look.

Contributed photo

Additional Photos Below

McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group conducted a topographic survey of the river bottom, developed a hydraulic model and evaluated the whitewater features in the gorge.

The three whitewater areas of the park would include one at the pedestrian bridge, another behind the Skowhegan Opera House and extend downstream to the Great Eddy, along U.S. Route 2 east of downtown. The modeling shows the whitewater features could be built without affecting hydro operations at Weston Dam, upriver from the park.

The proposed features consist of man-made constrictions that squeeze and funnel the river to create elevation drops and high-velocity water needed for whitewater waves. The waves themselves are created by low, mounded obstacles within the existing fast water of the Kennebec to make water holes, ramps and tubes for standing waves and rapids.

Each whitewater feature will consist of a group of two or three obstacles at different elevations, each tuned to a different flow range of the river. As the river rises, the lowest feature washes out and the next feature comes in, according to the model.

The features are arranged in a stepped fashion to focus the flow to the middle of the river and less likely to impede fish passage.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

dharlow@centralmaine.com Twitter: @Doug_Harlow
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Additional Photos

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WET AND WILD: The Kennbec Gorge as seen from the Eddy toward downtown Skowhegan, where a water park for recreational boaters is being planned.

Staff photo by David Leaming


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