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1987 Art - John Keay
1987 - John Keay
1993 Art - Sue Kallerges
1993 - Sue Kallerges
1988 Art - John Keay
1988 - John Keay
1995 Art - Sue Kallerges
1995 - Sue Kallerges
1989 Art - John Keay
1989 - John Keay
1996 Art - Sue Kallerges
1996 - Sue Kallerges
1990 Art - John Keay
1990 - John Keay
1997 Art - Sue Kallerges
1997 - Sue Kallerges
1991 Art - John Keay
1991 - John Keay
1992 Art - John Keay
1992 - John Keay
1993 Art - John Keay
1993 - John Keay
1994 Art - John Keay
1994 - John Keay
Westfield River Whitewater Races 2016 - The oldest continuously run canoe race in the US

Race Details - Course Description    Schedule of Events    Clinic Schedule

Course Map

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Course Description

The Novice Race begins in the West Branch of the river, at the MassDPW yard, just off the "Green Bridge" in the center of Huntington. Because the West Branch is uncontrolled, the water conditions vary widely from one year to the next. There is a gravel bar shortly before the West Branch joins the main river that's apt to be scratchy.
Once out in the main river, the paddling is fairly uneventful until you reach the Texon Dam, about 1½ to 2 miles into the race. Watch for the signs directing you to the portage on the left (east) bank. The portage is steep and apt to be slippery.
Once on the downstream side of the dam, be careful of the strong eddying currents as you put in. The river turns sharply to the right almost immediately, with a ledgy outcropping jutting from the outside bank. About a mile downstream, watch for the "Three Sisters" rocks just left of mid-stream. They mark the gateway to the Hill & Dale Rapids - the only class III rapids on the Novice course, under normal race conditions.
If you prefer not to challenge the rapids, watch for the bypass along the right bank, otherwise, choose your line carefully. Once through Hill & Dale, the river turns sharply to the left at Turtle Bend and, with the exception of a large rock on the outside of that turn, offers nothing but riffles down to the millpond behind the Russell Dam.
The river changes direction again, turning right at the top of the mill pond. You'll have to paddle hard to the take-out on the right bank, just above the bridge. The portage at the Russell Dam is fairly long - about 200 yards.
Once past the portage, there are just about 2 miles of class I and II water left before the millpond sprint to the finish.

The Expert Race starts just below Knightville Dam and, due to the controlled release of water, has much more predictable conditions. There are class II rapids throughout most of the course until it joins the Novice Race course in the center of Huntington.
A few notable sections to watch for are: The hard right-hand bend about a half-mile downstream of The Rapids restaurant; the "Drop" in the Gardner State Park gorge - the only class IV section on the race course; "Boulder Patch" - a long stretch of class III rapids, beginning at the Norwich Bridge and continuing for almost a mile to the swinging bridge. The West Branch joins the main river a quarter-mile below the swinging bridge. See the Novice Race description for the balance of the course.

Schedule of Events

Novice Race - Saturday, April 15
Registration 8:00 am the Mass DPW Yard off the "Green Bridge" in Huntington
Pre Race Meeting 9:45 am Same location
Race start 10:00 am Canoes are started singly
Preregistered in both races start Immediately following the clearing of river-side boats Preregistered boats that are also running the Expert race launch
Jr/Sr Class start Immediately following the clearing of river-side boats Jr/Sr class cuts in line to launch
Awards Strathmore Park - as soon after the last canoe or kayak finishes the course as results are completed (time varies, depending on number of participants, but generally around 4:00pm). Results will be posted as they are available. Prize schedule
Expert Race - Saturday, April 15
Registration 12 noon the base of Knightville Dam
Pre Race Meeting 1:15 pm Same location
Race start 1:30 pm Pro Race start order announced immediately following meeting - 5 mile Race Start - 12 mile Pro Race will start immediately after 5 mile boats by lottery
Awards Strathmore Park - as soon after the last canoe or kayak finishes the course as results are completed (time varies, depending on number of participants, but generally around 4:00pm). Results will be posted as they are available. Prize schedule

Free Paddling Clinics

The following is the schedule of free clinics planned for the 2017 season. The sessions are run by some of the area's finest racers and consist of a short discussion of safety, equipment, and technique followed by guided runs down the entire 8-mile course. The clinics are low key and low-pressure with the goal of increasing paddlers' confidence and control. The clinics are free of charge and are open to novice and intermediate paddlers.

Clinics are subject to cancellation due to weather conditions. Please check our Facebook page first, and then this site for changes to the schedule and, if in doubt, call (413) 636-2397 to confirm.

Clinic Schedule
Saturday, March 25 Noon the MassDOT yard, just off the "Green Bridge" in the center of Huntington
Saturday, April 1 Noon MassDOT yard (center of Huntington)
Sunday, April 9 Noon MassDOT yard (center of Huntington)

All paddlers are responsible for providing their own equipment and ensuring that it's adequate for the river and weather conditions.

The organizers reserve the right to deny participation to anyone they deem to be a hazard to themselves or to other participants.

All participants are required to wear lifejackets. Wetsuits are recommended.