Category Archives: Kayaking

PG&E to Increase Flows on Pit River Below Lake Britton and Pit 5 Dams for Powerhouse Maintenance and Whitewater Recreation

BURNEY, Calif.— Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is urging the public to take extra safety precautions as water flows are increased on the Pit River below the Lake Britton Dam and Pit 5 Dam starting in September.

The higher flows are needed so PG&E can perform maintenance on the Pit 3 powerhouse tailrace, a concrete channel that carries water out the powerhouse and into the river.

While the Pit 3 Powerhouse is not operating September 1 through mid-December, no water will be diverted through the tunnel connecting the lake to the powerhouse, so water normally going through the tunnel will instead flow through or spill over the Lake Britton Dam.

Flows in the Pit 3 Reach will be about 750 cubic feet per second (cfs) from September 1 to 15, then increase to about 1,700 cfs. Flows in the Pit 3 reach typically range from 280 to 350 cfs in September. Flows may go higher during the wet season.

The Pit 3 Reach is the 4.5-mile portion of the Pit River in the Lassen National Forest between PG&E’s Lake Britton Dam and the Pit 3 Powerhouse.

PG&E is posting signage about the higher flows along the Pit River Road, and recreationists need to be aware of – and plan for – hazardous conditions.

Flows will also be higher in the Pit 5 Reach from September 5 through late November while PG&E performs planned maintenance on two generators at the Pit 5 Powerhouse.

The Pit 5 Reach is the 9.3-mile portion of the Pit River that extends from PG&E’s Pit 5 Dam to the J.B. Black Powerhouse near Big Bend. This portion of the river contains Class III, IV and V rapids, which are appropriate only for skilled paddlers. The reach is not appropriate for tubing.

Normal flows for September on the Pit 5 Reach range from 350 to 700 cfs but will range from 600 to 1,500 cfs during the powerhouse maintenance work from September 5 to late November.

PG&E will also conduct higher flows for whitewater recreation on September 8 and 9 on the Pit 5 Reach, with flows reaching at least 1,200 cfs over both days.

PG&E offers the following water safety tips:

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are recommended.
  • Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides, sub-surface obstacles, fast moving water, and transitions to full tunnels and pipes. For more water safety tips visit:  www.pge.com/hydrosafety
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PG&E Urges Safety During High Whitewater Flows on Pit 5 Reach

REDDING, Calif. — Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will provide high whitewater flows on the Pit 5 Reach of the Pit River in eastern Shasta County over two weekends, the company announced today.

A kayaker navigates the Pit 5 Reach of the Pit River during high whitewater flows in 2014. Photo by Jeff Cook of Spring Rivers Ecological Sciences, LLC.

The higher flows will occur on August 11-12 and September 8-9. Those recreating in or near this portion of the river are encouraged to use extra caution during the increased flows. This portion of the river contains Class III, IV and V rapids, which are appropriate only for skilled paddlers. The reach is not appropriate for tubing.

The Pit 5 Reach is the 9.3-mile portion of the Pit River that extends from PG&E’s Pit 5 Dam and the J.B. Black Powerhouse near Big Bend.

Prior to the increase for August 11-12, flows in the Pit 5 Reach will be about 450 cubic feet per second (cfs).  On early Saturday morning PG&E will gradually increase water flows until it reaches 1,500 cfs, before 10 a.m. The flows will be held at this level until about 4 p.m. that day when flows will gradually be reduced to 600 cfs.

The higher flows will be repeated the next day at the same times, then, after 4 pm, gradually decreased to the normal flow of about 450 cfs.

On the weekend of September 8-9, PG&E will increase flows to 1,200 cfs on both days. As with the previous releases, if needed, starting early in the morning the flows will gradually be increased to the target level by 10 a.m. and then after 4 p.m. gradually decreased to more normal flow levels. But starting September 5, flows in the Pit 5 Reach will already be in the 1,000 to 1,500 cfs range in September due to a planned maintenance outage at the Pit 5 Powerhouse, and will remain above their seasonal normal until November when maintenance finishes.

The whitewater flows are a requirement of PG&E’s license conditions for the Pit 3, 4, and 5 Hydroelectric Project.

Due to the potential for wild fires in the region, higher flow dates are subject to change. PG&E recommends verifying the dates via the PG&E recreation website www.pge.com/recreation/.

PG&E offers the following water safety tips:

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are recommended.
  • Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides, sub-surface obstacles, fast moving water, and transitions to full tunnels and pipes.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

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Free Kayak Seminar coming March 31

Donna Sylvester is offering an in-house kayak seminar at the Mt. Burney Theatre. It is scheduled for Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 1pm. Admission is free. Subjects covered will be kayak safety, kayak types and selection, paddle types and selection, required gear, optional gear, great places to go kayaking around the Intermountain area and beyond, invasive species and your responsibility, effective strokes, mental health as it relates to kayaking and anything else you are curious about.

Donna  says, “I do not sell kayaks or gear so have no monetary interest in kayak, paddle or gear suggestions. My suggestions are simply based on my experience and expertise.  Whether you already own a kayak , are thinking about buying one or even if you have been kayaking for years, this seminar is for you. We can all learn new things to compliment our lives.  Slides of photos taken while kayaking will be shown on screen during the presentation. If you have favorites and want to share them on screen, send me a high resolution copy and I will put them in my slide show for this event.  If you are interested, mark your calendar!”

This event is highly recommended for all because Donna is a seasoned adventurous and her slides are awesomely breathtaking.

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PG&E to increase water flows on Pit 1 Reach for whitewater recreation

 From PG&E

BURNEY, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will provide higher flows on a portion of the Pit River in eastern Shasta County over the Columbus Day weekend.

The higher flows will occur from October 6-9. Flows will be increased from about 220 cubic feet per second (cfs) and will reach 1,000 cfs by early morning on Friday, October 6, then to as much as 1,150 cfs over the entire four-day period before being gradually reduced starting the late afternoon of Monday, October 9.

Recreationists in or near this portion of the river are encouraged to use extra caution during the increased flows. This portion of the river contains Class IV and V rapids, which are appropriate only for skilled paddlers. The flows are not safe for tubing.

The Pit 1 Reach is the 6.5-mile portion of the Pit River that extends from PG&E’s Pit 1 Forebay in Fall River Mills to the Pit 1 Powerhouse.

The whitewater flows are a requirement of PG&E’s license conditions for the Pit 1 Hydroelectric Project.

PG&E offers the following water safety tips:

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are recommended.
  • Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides, sub-surface obstacles, fast moving water, and transitions to full tunnels and pipes.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and pge.com/news.

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Intermountain Adventures – a new local business in Burney

A short video of Garett Costello and Kayla Trotter introducing their new business Intermountain Adventures at the Burney Chamber of Commerce Meeting on April 11. The video includes interesting and informative question and answer with Chamber members. You can also visit the Intermountain Adventures website.

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Filed under Burney, Hiking, Kayaking

Whitewater Recreation on the Pit One Reach

About 60 whitewater adventurers came to Pit River Country the weekend of October 29-30 for whitewater recreation on the Pit One Reach. Kayakers and rafters came from as far away as Alaska and Wyoming. Ages of participants ranged from 14 years old to 68.

Headed down the Pit photo by Christine O'Conner

Headed down the Pit photo by Christine O’Connor

Every year, whitewater flows are required as part of PG&E’s license conditions for the Pit 1 Hydroelectric Project. The Pit 1 Reach is the 6.5-mile portion of the Pit River that extends from PG&E’s Pit 1 Forebay in Fall River Mills to the Pit 1 Powerhouse.

Group by the rock photo by Christine O'Conner

Group by the rock photo by Christine O’Connor

On October 24, PG&E increased flows from about 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 800 to 900 cfs creating Class IV and V rapids . This provides a particularly exciting opportunity for kayakers and rafters because the section of the river includes Pit River Falls.

Heading over the falls photo by Christine O'Conner

Heading over the falls photo by Christine O’Connor

Some kayakers go over the falls. Some choose to ride the chute parallel to the falls. In either case it is an exciting ride. The stretch ends at the Bureau of Land Management Campground at Pit 1.

Over the falls photo by Christine O'Conner

Over the falls photo by Christine O’Connor

 

Where's the kayak photo by Christine O'Conner

Where’s the kayak photo by Christine O’Connor

This was the second whitewater recreation weekend of the year on Pit 1 reach. The first event had been October 8-9. The scheduling of the event is a cooperative effort of PG&E, BLM and American Whitewater.

Most of the participants come on Saturday and camp overnight at the BLM  campground to  continue their weekend of fun. On Saturday night many of the campers enjoyed a combination Halloween Octoberfest celebration.

Halloween October Fest celebration photo by Christine O'Conner

Halloween October Fest celebration photo by Christine O’Connor

I wasn’t able to make the first event. Nor was I able to get there on Saturday the 29. Sunday was my last chance.

When my wife Linda and I got out of church it was pouring rain. We drove to the campground to interview some of the kayakers. The first group I met consisted of  Karen Guibault from Chico, Jami Rains from Sacramento, Sara Strader and Mary Elliot from Verdi, Nevada, Bruce Taylor from Reno, and Stephanie Viselli from Carson City and Christine O’Connor who had taken many wonderful pictures of the group’s escapades.

Kayakers from Nevada and Northern California

Kayakers from Nevada and Northern California

Undaunted by the rain, they had finished their ride for the day and were enjoying a feast of leftovers from the celebration that they had had the night before. They kindly gave me a bag full of sauerkraut.

When I asked them all if they had a quote, they said, “Thanks to PG&E, BLM, and AW!”

After a joyful chat, I headed down to the swimming hole where I met another group: Patrick Baird and Bird Sewett from White Salmon Washington, Brad Gossett from Alaska, and Riley Gardner from Jackson Hole Wyoming.

Kayakers from Alaska, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington

Kayakers from Alaska, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington

Then I saw two more trudging up from the river carrying their kayaks.

Joyful rafters after a great ride

Joyful rafters after a great ride

And last but not least 14 year old Nathan with his kayak on his back.

14 year-old Nathan carrying his kayak back from the Pit

14 year-old Nathan carrying his kayak back from the Pit

They were done for the day. I was getting soaked and Linda was waiting in the car. There were a few rafters still on the river but they weren’t expected to arrive soon. Linda and I headed home grateful that we had been able to meet these wonderful whitewater enthusiasts  of all ages and share just a taste of their excitement.

Many thanks to Christine O’Connor for the wonderful action photos.

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Whitewater weekend includes five-mile race to Big Bend Bridge

Saturday and Sunday September 10-11, PG&E again increased flows from Pit 5, thus creating another wonderful weekend of level IV and V rapids for whitewater enthusiasts.

Riding the river

Riding the river

I left Burney late Saturday morning and arrived at Big Bend just before noon. I went straight to the parking lot where kayakers exit the river by the bridge. It was full of people who had completed their first run.

The first person I met was Lauren Burlison from Redding.

“Hi! I remember you from last year,” she said.

Burlison had returned with her friend Ian Janosko for another run on the rapids. Both are students at Simpson College in Redding. Burlison has one semester left before finishing a liberal arts major preparing her to be a teacher. Janosko is a nursing student. They came with a group of friends from Placerville. Janokso was planning to organize a race from the Madesi River Access.

Lauren Burlison and Ian Jamosko Simpson-University with friends from Placerville

Lauren Burlison and Ian Janosko with fellow rafters from Placerville

Before heading up to the Madesi River Access where the race was to begin I met another group of happy kayakers from Southern Oregon who had just finished their first run.

When I arrived at the Madesi River Access, I met Susan Stalcut from Spring Rivers who was keeping track of how many people entered the river. As of 12:45 there had been 85 people on the river. Last month only 36 had signed up. Stalcut counted 59 kayaks and 6 rafts on her list.

Most had come to camp for the weekend. Friday night, several local musicians and drummers from Big Bend had come to the campsite for an evening jam.

Hobbs and Corona with their pontoon river raft

Hobbs and Corona with their pontoon river raft

As we were talking Nathan Stayrook Hobbs from Grass Valley and Nate Corona from Reno came in to get ready for their second run. Hobbs said that one of the other rafts had gotten stuck three times. It was an inexperienced crew with an underinflated raft, but they made it down to the bridge all right.

In the meantime, Janosko was busy signing people up for the race.

Ready to race

Ready to race

One of those present was a young daredevil, Rocco Russo from Cottonwood. Russo had been here last month riding down the river with a camcorder on his head. Russo has a video of him going over Lion Slide (Hatchet) Falls on youtube.

Russo and one other kayaker volunteered to go downstream to make sure that everyone was safe at two of the more intense whitewater areas. Then thirteen racers entered the river and lined up with their sterns on the opposite bank.

At just past 1:30 Janosko’s father, Boomer, using his hat as a starting flag yelled, “Ready, set, go!”

The race begins

The race begins

After watching the start, I headed down towards Big Bend. On the way there is an overlook where I caught a glimpse of the racers through the trees.

Glimpse of the racers through the trees from the overlook

Glimpse of the racers through the trees from the overlook

As they passed below I could see that Janosko had pulled into the lead. I headed toward the bridge at Big Bend.

When I got there, two PG&E employees had just finished measuring the flows. They told me their figure was 1275 cubic feet per second.

Shortly thereafter, Janosko came around the bend. He screamed with joy as he passed under the bridge.

The winner coming under the bridge

The winner coming under the bridge

Not far behind the remaining pack of racers descended.

Coming down the home stretch

Coming down the home stretch

I was happy that I had been able to come and cover the race. The Spring River and PG&E employees were happy to see that there was a good turnout. The kayakers and rafters were happy just to be here.

As I chatted with folks from the Sacramento area, Reno, Oregon, Placerville, and Redding, I heard comments such as

“You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area!”

“It’s so peaceful here!”

“I love coming up here! It’s freedom!”

All very true. Pit River Country is wonderful.

Kayakers would continue to enjoy additional runs through the afternoon on Saturday and then again on Sunday till 4 p.m. That would conclude the whitewater flows on the Pit 5 reach for 2016.

However, there is still more rafting to be had on the Pit River this year. On the first and third weekends in October, PG&E will be increasing flows on the Pit River below Fall River Mills so kayakers can ride over Pit River Falls down to Pit 1 Campground.

See also:

Pit River Whitewater Draws Kayakers
Kayakers ride the Pit
Kayakers enjoy “good clean fun” on the Pit

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Filed under Big Bend, Kayaking, PG&E, Pit River