Elkhorn City may beat out Bardstown on the chance at having the first Kentucky whitewater park.
We (the Elkhorn City Heritage Council) were notified yesterday that we’d won a grant to develop a feasibility study to create several streambed play features in the downtown Elkhorn City area.
As many of you might know, the Russell runs right through the middle of Elkhorn City, with a decent bit of gradient. There are several spots we’ve looked at over the years that, with minimal ‘help’, could become sweet play spots. Now we’ve got a few dollars (ok, more than a few) to pay the professionals who do this kind of thing.
Our mantra for this project is ‘minimalism is best’. We’re hoping to create features that come in when the river is down to its normal low summer flows (around 200cfs), but remain in as the river gets up to fall release flows (800+). We are absolutely NOT trying to divert the streambed, alter the normal flows, etc, etc. If we can’t do it in the existing streambed with minimal work, we’re not doing anything. Also, this work is NOT be tied to the efforts to get low water releases on the Fork in summer. What we have in mind wouldn’t rely on any supplement to the natural flow.
Our goal, of course, is to broaden the appeal of whitewater on the RF and get more folks into downtown E.C. Our models are the several Colorado locations which have created these types of ‘whitewater parks’ in existing streambeds.
BTW, a major component of the grant is a local education campaign to try to wean everyone from the county judge to the local dog-catcher from referring to all whitewater activities as ‘raftin’. While we got nothing against raftin, that’s certainly not what the vast majority of paddlers are doing here. We’ll also be heading into the local schools pushing the youth to get interested. The Council will be purchasing a creek boat and boating gear (paddle, helmet, pfd) for these public presentations, along with some whitewater videos featuring the Fork. We’re always open to interested sponsors.
The Elkhorn City Area Heritage Council is a registered 501c3 non-profit corporation.