Dangerous treefall removed from Awesome Gorge


Andi Uhl writes from Rotorua to say, A tree in Awesome Gorge on the Kaituna River that caused a fatal accident on August 19 has now been removed. In co-operation with Environment BoP (who lowered the river level to three gates on 200 for a day) some local paddlers and rafters cut the tree into several pieces. Awesome Gorge is currently (as of 29 August) clear of dangerous logs, although two or three trees line the left bank in the really narrow section. Those trees have been there for a number of years and are not in the main flow. However, several slips just before the entrance to Awesome Gorge have brought a number of trees down during the winter. Even though all those trees are solidly wedged against the sides of the river and don’t pose any danger at the moment please be aware that those logs may move downstream during a flood and cause an obstruction somewhere else. Because of the narrow character of Awesome Gorge new trees may fall into the river at any time, most likely after rain storms. Awesome Gorge is an exciting piece of whitewater (mostly class III and IV) but extreme care must be taken in case of new logs behind blind corners. If in doubt before a descent contact some local kayakers or rafters first who may be able to give information about when Awesome Gorge was paddled last and if it was clear.