It’s true! After decades of mind-blowing prohibition, Ohiopyle Falls is now open for boaters. The access is still very limited, but we hope to see it expand as more boaters demonstrate that the falls can be enjoyed safely. For more info on access and guidelines, see below.
It should come as no surprise that the Wilderness Voyageurs staff wanted to be part of the big day. Operations Director Ben, Store Manager Lou and Lower Yough Guide Rob took to the water at 11AM for a quick “huck.” Walking through the woods to the putin on Ferncliffe Peninsula, it occurred to me that I was about to run the falls in the midde of the day. Legally. Part of me expected a dozen or so Rangers to come running out of the woods with ticket pads. But, in truth, the Park staff was well prepared and very chill about the whole thing. To talk to the Launch Area staff, you’d never know it was the first day of access.
So we launched below the buoys on river right, and ran the first two drops. Here’s a shot of Lou going over the second ledge:
Afterwards, it was time to huck the biggie. A gorgeous slide into a clean 18 foot drop. What could be better!? Here are the shots:
It must be said: a big shout out to Barry Adams and American Whitewater, Ohiopyle State Park management, especially former park manager John Hallas, and all the outfitters, individuals, and elected officials who supported access.
To the boaters: let’s not screw it up! Please only run this drop if you have solid class IV skills. Please be mindful of the guidelines governing falls access (and follow them!). For the official writeup on fallsrace.com go here. For the full writeup on American Whitewater’s page, go here.