Powell River kayak and canoe regatta registration opens

Published 7:07 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

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The Powell River Regatta is an annual event hosted by the Claiborne County Chamber of Commerce and registration for it is now open.

The net proceeds of the regatta are earmarked for the purpose of improving and maintaining public access to the 114 mile-long Powell River for canoeing and fishing in the picturesque Cumberland Mountains in northeast Tennessee. 

According to United States Fish and Wildlife, the Powell River is an easy-going class 1 paddling river that originates in southwest Virginia and is one of Tennessee’s two largest undammed rivers. It’s also considered to be one of the most breathtakingly diverse rivers in the United States. The river supports more federally endangered species than any river in the country and a few of the species found nowhere else on the planet.

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Because the river doesn’t have any dams on its banks, it’s entirely dependent on rainfall in the river’s immediate vicinity. Chamber officials say that in the nine years they’ve done the race flows have ranged from 300 cubic feet to 30,000 cubic feet for the last three regattas. “These are the minimums and maximums for what’s considered acceptable. 

However, the river has a nice balance of slack in deeper holes and swift water, as well as the occasional ledge that can be navigated during lower flows 

Worried about not having a boat? 

Riverside Rentals will have kayaks and canoes available for rent on race day. Boats and paddles will be made available at the Start Line and can be left at the Finish Line. Please make prior arrangements for these boats – while availability lasts – by contacting Carson Williams of Riverside Rentals at (423) 626-9761 or email at riversiderentals11@yahoo.com .

Cash prize money is offered for 1st Place ($150) and 2nd ($50) Place finishers in each race category, except the recreational category. (If there are less than three entrants in any category, the race organizers reserve the right to combine the entrants with another category of their choice.

The race begins at the Well Being Retreat Center in Tazewell, TN – about 50 miles north of Knoxville – and ends 12 miles downstream at Riverside (Kayak) Rentals in Harrogate, Tn. Free transport for boats and participants back to the start line is provided.

Entry fees increase from $35 to $40 for single events and the recreational category, and from $55 to $60 for the double kayak or canoe event as of noon on Monday, April 24; pre-registration closes at midnight on the same day.