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2013 Spring Whitewater Rafting

By Bruce Lessels

White water rafting on the Concord River


CHARLEMONT, MA – When spring warms the air each April, eager adventurers pull on river gear and jump on the whitewater rivers of Massachusetts. Long cherished by paddlers for its high water, spring is a great time for everyone to take advantage of the whitewater excitement offered only during this short season.  Zoar Outdoor, a whitewater rafting outfitter in western Massachusetts, runs two unique spring rivers that capture the thrill of the season while offering great opportunities to get outdoors and experience adventure.

Two hours west of Boston, the Millers River offers a big water rush on class III and IV rapids that culminate at its confluence with the Connecticut River in the scenic French King Gorge. The Millers has a long history of providing hydropower to the region’s industry and it’s not unusual to glimpse old structures through the trees as you raft down the long, rolling rapids.  This trip is ideally suited for school groups, scout groups and other adventurers over the age of 12.

Henry David Thoreau portaged around them, but whitewater rafters now run the rapids of The Concord River, a half-day urban whitewater adventure just 30 minutes from Boston in the town of Lowell, Mass.  The Concord offers a unique urban rafting trip on class III and IV rapids with fun play and surfing spots and a special treat at the end when rafters pass through an 1850’s lock chamber as the trip finishes in the center of Lowell.

Rafting Manager, Brian Pytko loves spring rafting for the opportunities it provides to get on new rivers at interesting levels. “When you see each stream you pass by feeding its flow into the main river, you get the sense that you’re riding nature’s roller coaster.  I love the energy of the water and the chance to plug into the excitement of the changing seasons.”

No previous rafting experience is needed for either of these trips, only a willingness to paddle hard and have fun on the water. Millers River trips run during the first two weeks in April, and trips on the Concord are run in conjunction the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust on weekends during April and as late into May as water levels allow. A portion of Concord River whitewater rafting proceeds supports the work of the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust to protect land along the Concord River.


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