In July 2016 our favourite haunt was devastated by an enormous flood (1/200yr). Massive piles of debris were left on camping grounds and in the river. The manmade features were damaged and dangerously undercut. Weeds invaded. Slalom fixtures were swept away. Members and paddlers had limited safe access to the old Forth Slalom Course.
Over the last 2 years and 10 months club members have been helping the club recover. Funds from our club, RACT, Paddle Tasmania, Sport and Recreation and a very important grant form the Tasmanian Community Fund have combined with over a 1000 hours of volunteer time to repair and restore the site and to future proof the features from further damage. In-river work required assistance from Hydro Tasmania, to lower flows to workable levels. Mechanical work with an excavator assisted with feature replacement and endurance arms from club members added many of the finishing touches.
In the last 8 months the club has had a resurgence. Schools, community groups and casual paddlers have been in force – Thursdays AEDT, weekends, Paddle Education, Come and Try, school groups, rafters, QLD Fire Rescue, Forth River Festival – with over 1000 attendees, enjoying the restoration.
Changes have brought about greater safety, a serious surfing wave, re-circulating eddies from down river to up river, interesting and smaller features. This has created the Forth Whitewater Course which has accessible parts for beginners, grade 2/3 and playboat stylists.
Now for the next stage – installation of slalom features to provide another chapter.