MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., August 29, 2018–Nolin River within Mammoth Cave National Park is now accessible to river users following the completion of extensive downed tree removal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The river has been considered largely impassable since the failure of Lock and Dam 6 in November 2016, but will now welcome paddlers interested in experiencing a wild and dynamic river.
“The park is excited to have coordinated with the Army Corps to make the Nolin passable again for the upcoming Labor Day holiday,” said park superintendent, Barclay Trimble. “Paddling is a popular activity here at Mammoth Cave and we appreciate all the hard work and contributions made by Corps employees to get this area open to the public again.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the approximately 3 month long tree removal project using the Corps’ 6 person maintenance crew to clear the river of several hundred downed trees and dangerous snags. This was possible through the use of an interagency agreement in which Mammoth Cave provided the funding and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accomplished the work. The Nolin River, a tributary of the Green River, had portions of its water levels drop several feet after the failure and subsequent removal of Lock and Dam 6. As the river adjusted to a new lower water level the river banks began to drain, dry and slump. Trees were no longer supported by the riverbank and began falling across the narrow stream creating numerous hazards and blocking the path of boaters.
“While the river is now open and free of most problem areas, there are a few sections paddlers will need to be able to navigate around to safely journey down the river.” said Deryck Rodgers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nolin River Lake Manager. “We were able to remove most down trees, but the river system is dynamic and conditions can change daily.”
Paddlers on Nolin River will now experience a quicker paced river and should be familiar with operating paddle craft before embarking on a trip. Water level can change rapidly and hazards such as fallen or submerged trees and rocks, drifting debris and swift currents still exist. While inside the National Park boundary, personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be worn at all times and alcohol use is prohibited on the rivers.
More information about recreation and river safety on the Nolin River can be found on the park’s website: www.nps.gov/maca/planyourvisit/ontherivers.htm.