Sunday, August 28, 2011

#15 Report: Spring Brook, April 8th,2011

Saturday April 8th: It rained hard last night.Left home at 5:00AM. Got breakfast at Tamaqua Diner. Going north out of town I noticed M-H water in the degree III section of Little Schuylkill River. Saw one fisherman by the river. Reach Moosic, PA. and continue east on Rt.502 to view it on the way up to Nesbitt Reservoir. Stopped and checked it from three road bridges. Water is running at a passable M level. No fishermen. Must not be a fishing stream. Heavy rain last night might have something to do with their absence. At Nesbitt Reservoir there is a serious "no trespassing" sign which tells readers to report any suspicious activity to the police. Their phone number is on the sign. Wow! I never saw a sign like this before. Men were working near the dam so I did not drive into the dam breast. Could not see if water was running over the breast works. Sometimes all water is held back to fill the impoundment pool. Experienced this on Springton Reservoir on Crumb Creek and the reservoir on Evitts Creek. On both of those places after heavy rain, there was none to float on below the dam. This happens after a long dry spell.
Do a U-turn and continue downstream. Stop at the Intake Reservoir. There is another of those specially made signs there. Took pictures of both signs. Water is running over the breast works here, so the lower reservoir is full. Made several stops below here. Everything has special posted signs on it. At the first stop I had driven in on what turned out to be a private driveway which looked at first like a road. Not a good place to enter. Backed out after checking the creek.
Next stop was by a private bridge which again was heavily posted. Both banks through here are laid stone and appear to have been straightened. I had seen a "federal improvement" sign along this road when I first came here. From here down it looks like a channeled creek. Continue down and stop at a piece of grass between the road and the creek. No house on this side at this point. Walked in to look at it. Again a special "no trespassing" sign. I dwelled here a long time to see if anyone would come out and question me on my being here. There are residents on the other side of the road. It would be tough getting down these laid stone banks which are about a 45 degree slope.
Continue downstream and stop a the fifth bridge from the Lacawanna River. It looks like one could enter the creek here, but I noticed that the water is spread very thin over a wide cobble bed. It has dropped some since I got here an hour ago. This bridge is 2.7 miles from the mouth of the creek. Three miles is normally considered a minumum length for a run. Anything less than that had better be very nice to make the logistics of shuttle, preparation, and entry worth the effort.It would take longer to set up than it would to do the run. This looks like degree II-III whitewater here.
Further down, at the fourth bridge from the mouth,looking upstream about a quarter mile, I can see a rapids of greater difficulty by a railroad bridge. The water here is just passable. Entry at the third bridge from the mouth is a bit more private and some fencing through here restricts entry. This is where the large federal sign states that this is an improvement creek project. Brown painted sign with white lettering.
The view upstream from the second bridge from the river, shows a floodwall which starts as far up as I can see- about a quarter mile. The bed is flat cement and the walls are sloped at a 45 degree angle up to 25 or 30 feet in height. The entire section is fenced in on both sides at the top of the walls. The fence is four feet high chain link type. The view downstream shows that the walls become vertical to the same height. When you see something like this you have to know what you will encounter all the way though as there is no way out except forward.
At the first bridge before the river there is construction going on and it is closed to traffic. I believe this is called Eight Street. The view up and down the creek is vertical walls. The end of the cement works is visible about 200 yards downstream. At that point laid stone banks resume just before entering the Lacawanna River. Two local people were inspecting the bridge work. After getting my pictures, I went over to talk to them. I asked if they ever see canoes or kayaks go through here? Both said boats don't come through here. They said the water was at normal flow right now because of the rain.One said that if the water was a foot higher right now there might not be enough clearance to boat under the construction being done on the underside. I cannot get up or down stream to check on this because everything is very fenced in. I told them I was checking Spring Brook because it was listed as canoeable. Both said the Lacawanna was a better place to go.
Finally I pulled into a parking lot to analyze my findings and look at the topo map. Nearest point one could attempt to run the creek is at the 2.7 mile mark. Cities with floodwalls are putting in ordinances to prevent boating or tubing the floodways. I don't know if Moosic has such a law yet, but they will at some point. They seem to be fencing in big time as a preventive measure. The water has dropped in the one and a half hours that I have been here. This may be optical illusion as the bed has been made wider causing the water to be spread thin. I am sure if both reservoirs were full there would be sufficient flow 24 hours after rain. How does one determine that without trespassing. It would be a hit or miss to assume a wet season would provide good water. There is too much channeling and cement floodwalls. All distances considered, there is two miles of half natural water travel here. It is easier to write this place off than to look over your shoulder at the possibility of trespassing problems.
This ends my last pursuit of possible little creeks that others placed claims on. Since only 17 more claims of "canoeable waters" have been filed in the last eleven years-since 2000,when I last reported creeks to guide books, I am reasonably sure that there are no others out there unclaimed. I sold the H2Pro when I got home and I am now retiring my paddle. I hope those of you in canoesport gained something from all of the scribbling in my log book. I will let this blog run for six more months before terminating it. After all, history is history! Clean waters and clear skies to all of you. - William V. McNaull

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