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Whitewater Rafting at Berkshire
Whitewater Rafting at Berkshire
As someone that grew up here outdoor recreation is really a sustainable model for how we can grow this economy and I think that rafting fits perfectly into that. I just think it makes a lot of sense to have one of the whitewater operations being owned and run by a family that’s lived here for generations and really invest in the area. I was really encouraged I came up with Berkshire East to hear John always reiterated that he felt that a rising time put it, we have good relationships with all the other companies in the area they’re all friends of mine and the more we can just work together to make Charlemont a place it’s really on the map for people for outdoor recreation and getting away for the weekend the better for us personally it’s a great addition to all the activities that we have to offer and we also think it’s a good addition to the area because we were here year-round.
We’re invested in it and so it’s been a really easy transition between moxie and then moving over to Berkshire Whitewater and that’s been it’s been a great addition for us. Easy transition. There’s a huge holding reservoir right above the Fife Brooke dam and so they’ll take that water up and they’ll hold it until energy prices are high and then they can dump that back down. Once they were able to schedule those releases, you could plan and know when you would have enough water to run. It really just opened up this huge opportunity for recreation users to be out on the river and a plan for that and utilize it.
One of the really great things about the Deerfield River is that there are different sections with different amount of difficulty and each one so we definitely have a really good river for families. We also do really well with camp groups and boy scout groups that can come up here because our main releases on the Fife Brooke section which is a wonderful forty mile stretch of class 2,3 whitewater, great for people who haven’t done it before.
It’s a full day trip really fun.
we also have a float trip that’s on the lower section of class 1 and 2. That’s wonderful for families with younger kids as young as five years old or people they’re just looking to have more of a scenic trip and for those they’re looking for more of high adventure high adrenaline, we have what’s known as the Monroe bridge section or it’s also referred to as the driveway. That’s a great technical stretch of river that’s class 3,4 super exciting, it has a lot of surfing involved, so that’s something that’s for more adult or people 15 and above. It’s really a top-notch high adventure activity.
So the great see whether the Deerfield these different trips cater to people’s needs and what they’re looking for but there’s definitely a strong focus on families and camp groups with the lower section. We inherit a lot of equipment from Moxie but we’ve also want to invest in some new equipment so we’ve just bought 10 brand new thirteen foot rafts that were designed for this river.
We have 10 of those coming. We’re buying a whole whole bunch of new life jackets, new wetsuits, paddles. So we’ll be really ready to roll with state of the art equipment in all aspects of our operation. So all of our guides go through an extensive training course to learn how to navigate the raft, learn how to do all the necessary rescues on the river, learn how to interact with clients and good customer service.
In addition to that we often we look for guides that have their Wilderness First Responder or EMT or other type of medical serps so all of our head guides have somebody on the trip that has either an EMT in addition to guides that just have the first aid and CPR. Some guides have also gone through what’s known as a swift water rescue course that’s a course specifically designed just to do white water rescues.
For the Fife Brooke section we have a minimum age of eight and from the Monroe bridge section we have a minimum age of 15. For both the west river and for the Millers river which are other rivers nearby that we raft, although less frequently, those have minimum ages of 12.
We go through about it twenty minutes safety lecture before you can get in the water at all. Once we get up to the river we have really one short section to practice on before we hit our first rapid right below the dam. So as soon as each group is with their guide on the river and will utilize all of our paddling commands and practice going forward, going back, turning the boat, because the crew really is the motor and the guide is the steering wheel but the guide can’t do it by himself. We need the crew especially on a section on the upper section, we need everybody working in unison at the same time to mirror that boat successfully down through all the rapids and through all the rock.
On the Fife Brooke section we actually have a picnic lunch. We’ll pull over right in the middle of the trip after Zoar Gap. There’s a wonderful picnic area along the river and then we’ll continue our trip and then from Monroe bridge we actually do a BBQ cookout. At the end of the day back at the ski area we have a wonderful slide show showing the photos of our trip through Zoar Gap and other areas on the river and then they can shower up. There good to go. There’s a real process and therapy that people go through when they do something for the first time. There a little you can see them a little apprehensive to begin with.
They’re a little bit nervous and they’re not sure what’s gonna be like to move out of that comfort zone. Often you’ll get a crew of paddlers that are strangers and don’t know each other but all it takes is a few hours and now they’re best friends. Having guided for a number of years you’re always surprised by the letters that you might get after trip and and learn how important it was for somebody and that’s an exciting thing to be part of.
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