1 annual whitewater spill at Chelan River Gorge

CHELAN — Whitewater events at north-central Washington’s Chelan River Gorge will be held just once a year due to declining boater interest.

The Chelan County Public Utility District’s federal license to operate Lake Chelan Dam originally ordered four annual releases of water through the gorge for whitewater recreation. But a 3-year study revealed a lack of interest among boaters to justify four events.

The Wenatchee World reported Tuesday that this year’s release will be the weekend of Sept. 15-16. Boaters must register by 5 p.m. Friday, sign a liability waiver and be approved by American Whitewater, which oversees the gorge runs.

The Chelan River Gorge is only about a quarter-mile long, but it is navigable only by expert boaters during spill events with Class 4, 5 and 6 rapids.

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