ELKHORN CITY, Ky. (Oct. 17, 2013) — Every October, kayakers and rafters from across the country visit Elkhorn City in eastern Kentucky for some of the best paddling found anywhere in the region.
October is a special time because of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers weekend releases of water from the Flannagan Reservoir in southwest Virginia. Water is released each weekend from the lake in order to reach the winter pool elevation. This creates good downstream water flow on the Russell Fork River.
Experienced whitewater paddlers make the visit each year to compete in the Lord of the Fork race. An extreme, down river race on Class V whitewater tests the skills and speed of some of the best paddlers in the country, as they compete in this time-trial style race. What began in the mid 1990s was renamed the Lord of the Fork in honor of paddler Jon Lord in 2004. This year, the Lord of the Fork will be held Oct. 26. History and records of the event may be found online at russellfork.info/race.htm.
Elkhorn City and the Breaks Interstate Park welcome visitors to the area throughout the month, and there are several special events that coincide with these releases.
One of the most popular events associated with the water releases is the Russell Fork Rendezvous. The Rendezvous is a gathering and celebration of paddlers held each year. Good food, live music and good company can be found at the Russell Fork Rendezvous, scheduled for Oct. 26. Information and directions for the Rendezvous may be found online at www.russellfork.info.
To find information about all of the outdoor opportunities and locations, as well as a calendar of events happening all across Kentucky, visit the Office of Adventure Tourism’s website at www.getoutky.com.