Benscreek Canoe Club

December 1, 2010

Hello all.  Sorry for the lack of correspondence.  It has been a difficult year on many fronts.  First and foremost, the Quemahoning Valve situation has changed almost on a weekly basis.  Updating the information would have provided you outdated information.   So.   Here is the latest………..

The new $800,000 valve was installed on July 17th (roughly).  The valve was pressurized one week later.  We were then required to complete test releases before DEP gave their final permitting.  Then issues developed regarding concerns on turbidity of the new valve and how it will affect cloudiness/sedimentation on the new Que-Pipeline that sends industry/public drinking water south to Somerset.  In addition, testing became required for vibration effects of a 500 cfs release on the infrastructure of the original intake tower at the breast of the dam. 

Testing was delayed until October secondary to the drought situation that plagued Somerset County most of the summer.  In addition, Somerset Borough was utilizing a much greater demand on the Que-Pipeline due to maintenance issues they had with their own system.  Testing resumed on October 6th with several engineers present as well as members of the Benscreek Canoe Club and the CSA (Cambria-Somerset Authority).   The maximum release physically capable by the Que prior to installation of the new valve was 150-200 cfs.  This provided a small amount of needed water to facilitate the Stonycreek Rendezvous in years past.  The new valve will supply 500 cfs to the Stonycreek River which will provide consistent water levels from April thru mid-July.  Typically, the Que Reservoir drops below the established threshold for abundant and excess water for a release by mid-July.  With autumn rains and potential hurricanes hitting our region, we expect releases to resume for Sept-Oct. 

Unfortunately the vibration tests failed at 300 cfs on Oct. 6th.  There is a 90 foot stem that functions to raise/lower one of the intake gates on the intake tower.  Couplings that hold the stem were previously pulled loose causing excessive vibration.  We are estimating the cost to fix this problem at $30,000.  This is to be confirmed at the next CSA board meeting on Dec 2.  On the good side, the new valve at this time does not appear to have much, if any, effect on turbidity on the Que-Pipeline. 

What now?  

The Stonycreek Rendezvous will be planned again for May 13-15.  We hope to have all issues resolved before this date.  If not, we had adequate water last year and hopefully rainy skies will prevail this year.  If we are successful, we will plan to biggest and most comprehensive Rendezvous undertaken to date.  We will invite all parties involved with funding/financing to the event as well as the community. 

Other News……………..

If you haven’t heard, the Stonycreek River has been nominated for 2011 RIVER OF THE YEAR!  We are 1 of 6 that made it to the final vote that ends on January 3rd.  The event is sponsored by DCNR (Dept of Conservation and Natural Resource) as well as POWR (PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers).    So PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE go online to: and cast your vote!!!   The voting process should take 60 seconds and you can also read about the rivers we are up against. 

The BCC Christmas Party will be held December 10, 2010 at the Homestead Inn in Salix.  Happy Hour begins at 6:30 and dinner will be at 7:30.  We typically have door prizes and will have hats, shirts and sweatshirts for sale.  In the past 2 years we have had 80-90 BCC members with their families attend the party.  Fun had by all.  Cost per person is $10 and child 12 or under $5.  Vegetarian dish is available.  The Homestead Inn is located on State Route 160 in Salix.  RSVP to or call the BCC hotline at (814)266-4276 by Dec 7th

The BCC has spent $500 for a web page design service in Greensburg.  Rick Bloom is currently heading this project that is long overdue.  Soon we will be able to blog, announce impromptu trips, post river trip reports and photos on this website.  It is being designed by Scott Dix and promises to be a huge upgrade using modern technology. 

We currently have 220 families that are members of the BCC.  This is unbelievable.  In 1995 we had 43 members.  Our treasury in 1995 was $220.  Currently it is $11,550.00.    Quite the contrast.  We continue to attempt to switch our non-profit incorporated status from a 501c(3) to a 501c(7).  This will allow for greater tax exemption for corporations donating to the BCC for various projects.  This should also boost our treasury.  We will be applying for additional grants this February for the Rendezvous and for mile marker signage to be place through the Stony corridor (from the Glessner Covered Bridge below Shanksville to the Inclined Plane in Johnstown).  We are currently coordinating efforts with Conemaugh Twp EMS and eventually 911 to correlate mile markers with GPS location to assist in rescue/recovery efforts of our local firemen and EMS. 

As always, we will post all of our paddling activities for the 2011 season on the website.  The season will kick off (as always) with Greg Dick, et al leading the January 1st paddle on the Stony Canyon.  Meet at Carpenter’s Park at 10 AM.  Last year we had heavy snow and 23 degrees!  It was invigorating!   Mark your calendars for June 2-5 for the CVC Sojourn.  A must for families and recreational paddlers.  As always, we will have our full moon paddles in June-August.  And our typical 3-4 trips down the middle Yough.  We will be entertained at Jim Brett’s cabin July 15th overnight for food/beverage in the hills of Confluence.  We then will meet July 16th at 10 AM at Ramcat Put-in for the middle Yough.  Last years event was great! We will schedule the annual Bruce/Catherine Penrod float trip on the Juniata River in Bedford as Bruce’s schedule dictates. 

I have 140 web email addresses that are accurate.  This is pretty good.  It allows for easy communication without being ridiculous.  I encourage all members of the club to send in your $15 dues/family AND TO UPDATE your EMAILS!!!   Doing hard mailing through the USPS has been next to impossible because of our numbers.  So, keep an eye on the website, send me your email addresses and KEEP PADDLING.   Any correspondences please send to or leave message on the BCC hotline (814)266-4276.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen Podratsky

President of Benscreek Canoe Club

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