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Message from the Chair of the NWSC
To the Whitewater Slalom Community,
As discussed at the NWSC Board meeting last weekend, we have had substantial difficulty in securing a water release for the Savage River for the dates of the 1999 National Senior Team Trials. After a series of long but productive negotiations with the Savage River Organizing Committee, the Maryland Department of Fisheries, the Maryland Department of National Resources, the Ocoee Organizing Committee, the TVA, the Forest Service, and others, we have decided to change the date and venue of the National Senior Team Trials to May 14, 15, and 16 on the Ocoee River.
Moving the Trials away from the Savage at this late date is very distressing to me, and I apologize in advance for the inconvenience that I am sure the change will cause some athletes. However, the change is unavoidable.
One positive aspect of this situation is that the Savage Local Organizing Committee is back in operation, and is eager to host local, national and international events on the Savage River. The difficulty in obtaining a timely decision on the water release on the Savage is the direct result of the desire by the State of Maryland to protect the trout habitat on the Savage River. In the last 10 to 12 years, the Savage has become one of the premier self-sustaining tailwater trout fisheries in the U.S. To protect this fishery, the Maryland Department of the Environment has requested that high water releases on the Savage river be minimized during the period from early April through mid June, and has strongly recommended against allowing water releases during the earlier part of this time period. The Maryland DNR and Fisheries was able to convince me that these concerns are valid and worthwhile.
As part of the discussions with the various parties, the Savage LOC has received a verbal commitment for a significant water release to take place in the middle of July. The Savage LOC will host a team training camp and race during this time period. The Savage LOC has also received a verbal commitment for future water releases as long as they are outside the critical time period, hence will be able to hold many National and International events in the future.
At this point, I would like to thank Marshall Wilson, and the many people in the Ocoee organization, the Forest Service, the TVA, the State of Tennessee, and others that have agreed to help us. When we needed them to step forward, they were able to step forward in a big way. We have given them very little time to pull this event together, so I would like to ask the paddling community to step forward to help the Ocoee LOC put on the event.
I will see everyone at the Ocoee in May.
Chair, National Whitewater Slalom Committee
As you may have heard by now, the team trials have been moved from the Savage to the Ocoee due to conflicts between the trout fisheries and the necessary release levels required for slalom racing. As a result, we are putting together the race with very short notice and we will welcome experienced officials and volunteers from across the country.
If you are interested in helping with the team trials, they will be held on May 14, 15, 16. There are three days of racing in the current selection process. Boat control will be on the 13 (Thursday).Team trials is one of the most important races of the year to our athletes. The goal is to have an experienced gate judge on each gate working with experienced section judges and an experienced scoring team. If you are available to assist for all or a couple of days, please e-mail me back so that we can put you on the list.
A note of caution. Because this race has been moved to the Ocoee with almost no advanced warning, the budget is ZERO. Therefore, this race will be really kool and really retro. Be prepared to bring your own food, water, sunscreen etc like the old days. We are trying to find sources for all these things but time will not be on our side. Also we may not be able to offer the usual goodies like T-shirts etc., etc., etc. So if you come, be prepared to have fun with the rest of us and do it for the racers and comraderie. Racing without pretense. The rest if it happens will be icing.
Thanks in advance to those of you who can help. Send responses to me for now.
Parking at the Ocoee will be on site but will be limited. Spectators will be allowed into the race for free, but a parking fee of $5.00 per car will be charged. Volunteers and racers will be allowed to park for free but must have a parking pass. If you plan to be at the race, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can get you on the parking pass list. If you are car pooling with other officials, we love you !