Kayakers and Canoers: PLEASE READ COMPLETELY BEFORE YOU LAUNCH INTO THE ELM FORK at LLELA!!! This info is also available as a handout in our gatehouse.
There is a hazard in the river about one mile from the put-in near the Lewisville Dam, 100 yards downstream of the railroad bridge. The channel is completely blocked by fallen trees, and there is a FALSE CHANNEL to the right. The current may pull you into this false channel, and it is a trap...you won’t know you’re in trouble until it’s too late for anyone but a highly skilled kayaker to manage. It is an exceptionally difficult maneuver to avoid flipping your boat if you follow the current to the right.
Instead, go to the far left, where you’ll find a clear chute with a foot or two drop (photo below). Trees immediately after the chute will require steering, so be vigilant and paddle decisively and strongly to maneuver your boat.
We visited this fallen tree in late May when the river was low, and were able to make a large cut in it with a chain saw. It has been weakened, but will still be in place until enough current hits it to sweep it downstream. If you notice that it has been moved, please notify our staff so we can correct this information for other paddlers.
The next mile after this hazard is laced with several features which create strainers that will flip your boat if you don’t avoid them. Be careful and vigilant until you weave through all of these. When in doubt, scout along the bank on foot first before attempting in your boat.
The first strainer, around the bend and about 200 yards downriver from the photo below, is a little tricky...best run here is on the left, too.
These hazards have resulted from severe flooding and erosion along the river in 2015 and 2016. We will do what we can to clear some of these obstacles, but please understand that the location can't be reached with heavy equipment.
Thanks to Mike Swope and KayakPower.com for this information and the photo below.