Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Lsno/fog
32°
Lsno/fog
Hi 47° | Lo 22°

High Connecticut River dampens boating season

  • Strong currents due to high waters have brought debris downstream to the docks at Brunelle's Marina. The waters caused one dock to break away completely.<br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

    Strong currents due to high waters have brought debris downstream to the docks at Brunelle's Marina. The waters caused one dock to break away completely.
    AYRIKA WHITNEY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ray Morin helps clear out debris from the docks at Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley. Morin does not work at the marina, but he is a boater. "A lot of the boaters will come help out after they get off work. This place is like home to us," he says. The debris must be cleared out to prevent pressure from building up around the docks.<br/><br/><br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

    Ray Morin helps clear out debris from the docks at Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley. Morin does not work at the marina, but he is a boater. "A lot of the boaters will come help out after they get off work. This place is like home to us," he says. The debris must be cleared out to prevent pressure from building up around the docks.


    AYRIKA WHITNEY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Luke Brunelle, owner of Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley, clears away debris from the docks in his boat. Debris has been building up around the docks due to flooding. Brunelle takes larger debris out into the middle of the river and releases it downstream.<br/><br/><br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

    Luke Brunelle, owner of Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley, clears away debris from the docks in his boat. Debris has been building up around the docks due to flooding. Brunelle takes larger debris out into the middle of the river and releases it downstream.


    AYRIKA WHITNEY Purchase photo reprints »

  • All of the boats docked at Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley had to be brought onto land due to high flood waters and strong currents. Marina workers and boaters have been removing debris from the docks.<br/><br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

    All of the boats docked at Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley had to be brought onto land due to high flood waters and strong currents. Marina workers and boaters have been removing debris from the docks.

    AYRIKA WHITNEY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Strong currents due to high waters have brought debris downstream to the docks at Brunelle's Marina. The waters caused one dock to break away completely.<br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY
  • Ray Morin helps clear out debris from the docks at Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley. Morin does not work at the marina, but he is a boater. "A lot of the boaters will come help out after they get off work. This place is like home to us," he says. The debris must be cleared out to prevent pressure from building up around the docks.<br/><br/><br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY
  • Luke Brunelle, owner of Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley, clears away debris from the docks in his boat. Debris has been building up around the docks due to flooding. Brunelle takes larger debris out into the middle of the river and releases it downstream.<br/><br/><br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY
  • All of the boats docked at Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley had to be brought onto land due to high flood waters and strong currents. Marina workers and boaters have been removing debris from the docks.<br/><br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

“There’s not one boat in the water,” said Chris Jernigan, service manager at Brunelle’s Marina in South Hadley. “It’s a one-weekend season so far. It’s been a terrible spring for us and a terrible start to the summer.”

Boating conditions have been disappointing so far at other marinas as well.

“It’s been six bad weekends now out of seven,” said Phil Brocklesby, an employee at Mitch’s Marina in Hadley. “It makes for a rough season, especially when it’s such a short season.”

The National Weather Service reported that the Connecticut River in Northampton reached 110 feet on Thursday, only two feet under what is considered flood stage for that area. On Friday, the river level was just over 107 feet and was forecasted to continue declining over the next few days.

Earlier this week, workers and boat owners pulled out about three quarters of the boats docked at the marina, though it may be open for launching again Saturday, Brocklesby said.

In addition, he said, high water levels have forced campers along the marina’s riverside campground to leave campsites for higher ground on three occasions already this year. Meantime, the marina is selling less fuel as many boaters are steering clear of the river due to its strong current and dirty waters right now.

“It’s been a very tough year for our boaters and campers,” Brocklesby said. “There’s no beaches for anyone to really go to. People are missing being out on the river.”

At Brunelle’s Marina in South Hadley, workers pulled dozens of boats out of the water for the second time this year.

Crews were busy Friday clearing the dock areas of debris and recovering washed away dock sections, including its courtesy dock, which was retrieved down river, according to Jernigan.

On Friday, the marina alerted the boaters through its website that the river’s water levels and current remain too high and too strong to safely allow boaters to launch, a situation that is likely to last into early next week.

Jernigan said a significant amount of debris, particularly logs and trees, continue to plague the river. A dead deer was found wedged in the docks at the marina during the past week.

“It comes in spells,” Jernigan said of the debris.

The marina cancelled cruises on its 53-foot passenger boat, The Lady Bea, Friday and may also on Saturday given the state of the river.

At the Oxbow in Easthampton, the public access state boat ramp off of Route 5 was closed due to the high water.

Elsewhere, the high water level caused some back road closures on the perimeter of the river and Oxbow, including Fort Hill and River roads in Easthampton, sections of which were under water and impassable this week.

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.

Related

Water Watchers: Weekly bacteria tests pinpoint trouble zones on Connecticut River

Monday, July 15, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — “Three-quarter pressure, all the way home!” Erin Sprong called the other day to her class of recreational rowers on the Connecticut River. Sprong is rowing director for the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club at North Riverfront Park in Springfield. Earlier that morning, she and her youth rowing class had crossed paths with a volunteer for the Connecticut River Watershed … 0

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.