Friday, October 10, 2008

Maury River at Buena Vista - October 2008

I visited Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista, Virginia today to checkout the flatwater available on the Maury River which borders the park. Glen Maury Park is a large recreational park in this small town, with ball fields, tennis courts, and camping. Access to the Maury River is readily available here, and it's a popular put-in spot for tubers and other people going downstream toward Glasgow.

The amount of flatwater available for paddling in this spot in very limited, especially with water levels as low as they were today. It's less than 1/4 of a mile between the first upstream rapid and the first downstream rapid. The downstream rapid drops the river 2-3 feet, and I did not venture through this rapid to continue down the river.

Paddling upstream past the park, one encounters a long Class I rapid after one a few minutes (see first picture). It's possible to power through this rapid and continue upstream, but only when water levels are higher. I was able to pick my way upstream about a third of the way before I had to turn around.

The amount of flatwater available on this stretch of the Maury - at least with low water levels - is extremely limited. It's a somewhat urban location, with Glen Maury Park on one side of the river, and a couple of manufacturing plants and the town of Buena Vista on the other.

Coming off the river, I noticed a Virginia Department of Heath sign warning people of the possibility of PCBs in the river at this point and continuing downstream to the confluence of the James River in Glasgow. Nice. I did notice a discharge pipe releasing brown milky water not too far upstream of this sign.

Due to the possibilty of PCB contamination, I do not intend to visit this location again, and I do not recommend the Maury River in Glen Maury Park (and points immediately downstream) for any paddler. View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.

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