'Need some rainfall': Stonycreek River whitewater release schedule approved

David Hurst, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
·2 min read

Apr. 27—A full schedule with the potential for up to two dozen Stonycreek River whitewater releases the rest of the year has been set.

Now, river paddling enthusiasts just need a little help from Mother Nature, Benscreek Canoe Club Vice-President Steve Podratsky said.

Through an arrangement with the Cambria Somerset Authority, the local boating club has lined up tentative weekend releases from the Quemahoning Reservoir through early October.

But due to a drier-than-normal spring, the Que's water levels are already close to the cut-off point that would halt the releases, he said.

"We had one over the weekend and decided to cancel the second one Sunday (April 25) to conserve it, because the way things stand now, the levels are just above the 1,262.2 feet in elevation mark the authority has set for releases," Podratsky said. "We're OK today, but we need some rainfall."

More than a decade ago, money that the 300-member club raised was used to install a whitewater release valve that enables the CSA to send forth a strong stream of water into the Stonycreek Canyon.

Releases create ideal conditions for kayakers and rafters, when needed, offering them one of the longest sets of class III and IV rapids in the eastern United States.

According to the Canoe Club's website, boaters can enjoy the canyon anytime the river's level is flowing at at least 500 cubic feet per-second at the Ferndale gauge, which is updated regularly here: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/uv?site_no=03040000.

But releases are designed to more than double that rate, when needed.

The CSA, which operates the Quemahoning reservoir, limits releases during drought conditions and when water levels dip to a certain point below the dam's spillway to conserve water for its industrial customers.

As currently planned, releases are scheduled for the following dates:

May 8; May 21-23; May 29; June 5-6; June 19; July 3-4; July 17-18; July 31; Aug 1; Aug 14-15; Aug 28-29; Sept 11-12; Sept. 25-26; Oct 9-10; Oct 23-24.

Because all releases are subject to change, visit www.benscreekcanoeclub.com/quemahoning-releases to stay up-to-date on scheduled releases.