I'd say rip it out and build a water taxi stand there but I would not trust the incompetent City of Dallas to do that right either.
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
This is for the paddlers. Not for me. No more ranting by me, no more calling people stupid. Even if they are. We are all on our knees here, pleading. All around me are paddlers — canoe paddlers, kayak paddlers. We're pilgrims, walking on our knees to City Hall with canoe paddles in one hand, the other upraised in supplication.
We are begging, dear, dear, beloved and beautiful city staff persons: Please, will you please just do something about the mess you've made of our river with your so-called "white-water feature" on the Trinity River just below Corinth Street in southern Dallas.
You can't just leave it like that, wrecked and useless, like a dead body in the lobby. It's inhuman somehow — a kind of atrocity that just gets worse the longer it sits there.
A year ago I reported here that the $4 million fake rapids that the city built in the Trinity was a disaster. Somehow they got the design wrong. Way wrong. Instead of a fun water park, the thing they built turned out to be more like a giant wood-chipper for canoes.
It was the Dallas canoe and kayak In-Sink-Erator, capable of gobbling up entire families and their big aluminum canoes in one bite, with nary a floating Cub Scouts cap left behind to mark the spot. It was awful. Terrifying. A nightmare.
The day they held the dedication ceremony, the city closed the white-water feature to boaters — a very good idea at the time. But there was also much talk of modifying it somehow to reduce its propensity for devouring families.
In the year that has passed, however, the city has done absolutely nothing to fix it. They haven't touched it. Instead, the city has attempted to wall off that entire portion of the river like a nuclear waste spill.
Charles Allen of Trinity River Expeditions, a commercial canoe outfitter, told me again last week that he has been unable to get the city to unlock the gate to the parking lot that provides access to the river at that point. They won't let him within a quarter mile of the river there.
Allen doesn't want to launch families in canoes to ship them through the In-Sink-Erator. Unlike some people, he's not an idiot ... I mean misguided. He wants to put canoes in the river downstream from the In-Sink-Erator where they won't be devoured. But he needs to be able to drive down to the river with his canoes to put them in below the In-Sink-Erator. Not only will the city not let him in, they have threatened him with arrest.
In the past when I asked the city about it, they cited a construction project on a city walking trail nearby. I went down there and looked. Bullshit. I'm sorry. I meant, poppycock! The construction project was way the hell and gone from where Allen would have been launching canoes. And anyway, that project was completed months ago as far as any real heavy construction activity is concerned. But he still can't get in.
I spoke last week with Eric Neilsen of the Dallas Downriver Club, and he told me the city had barred his organization from even going down to the white-water site to test the water for contaminants. The state has always rated water in the river at that point unsafe for human contact. Neilsen's outfit wants to find out how unsafe.
"They said because of the construction site we had to have hard hats and vests and all this bullshit just to go down there," Neilsen told me. When his group agreed, the city found other forms of authorization they needed to apply for. He told me last week the group technically now possesses all of the authorizations the city has required but still hasn't been able to get in to do the testing without threat of arrest.
And what about this question? Why would you arrest a guy for testing the water? Why would you arrest somebody else for launching canoes? Are you kidding? People want to float down the river at that point through the Great Trinity Forest so they can go bird-watching and stuff. And you're telling me the city's going to sic the gendarmes on them? That's just plain ... it's totally ... I don't even know what to call it.
No, wait. Wait. I promised the paddlers when I spoke to them last week that I would not go off on a rant and start alienating people. And I never meant to alienate anybody. I always assumed if somebody was stupid and you helped them understand that they were stupid, they'd be grateful and ask you to lunch. I admit it's never worked out that way. So maybe the paddlers have a point.
Steve Ford is president of the North Texas River Runners, a kayaking group that has been at odds with canoe paddlers over the white-water feature. What canoeists may see as an In-Sink-Erator, Ford's group views as a hell of a lot of fun. But he said last week he's ready to bury the hatchet and seek some kind of sane compromise.
I'd say rip it out and build a water taxi stand there but I would not trust the incompetent City of Dallas to do that right either.
San Marcos hired the same whitewater park designer as Dallas, and got a BEAUTIFUL, functional whitewater park for less than half the cost Dallas paid for a piece of shit that was improperly built and which violates all sorts of federal laws regarding disruption of natural habitat for wildlife while also endangering humans by exposing them to harmful contaminants and dangerous currents created by a failed project managed by incompetent city staffers who do not canoe or kayak and have no concept of what is required to safely and properly build a whitewater park.
San Marcos got a park that looks like it is natural river feature. Dallas got a concrete, rip-rap and rebar monstrosity dropped right smack in the middle of a section of the Trinity River that is rated by EPA and TCEQ as one of the three most polluted streams in the entire state. And, Dallas taxpayers paid more than twice as much for NOTHING since we cannot even use it. There is no debate among educated, intelligent people as to the water quality issues of Section 0805 of the Trinity River. All the debate is among people who are summarily unqualified to render an opinion.
A lot of people who have no vested interest and no personal interest seem to get defensive and protective of the "whitewater" park whenever the truth is discussed. I have no idea why anybody would object to somebody else crying "foul" over placing a play park in the middle of a river that is classified as "unsafe for contact recreation" unless they just patently do not care who gets sick or dies as a result of exposure to that filthy water.
There are two major issues as play here: using taxpayer funding to build an unsafe structure in the middle of a natural-flowing river in clear violation of environmental protection laws and placing that structure in a very polluted river. The solution is easy - require every city staffer (Mary Suhm included) and their kids to canoe or kayak that "whitewater" park and get exposed to the bacteria and currents in the river, and then see how many get sick or die. If it happens to enough of them, then they would probably make some sort of rational decision as to what to do about the "Dallas Wave."
Meanwhile, the city has significantly damaged the business of Charles Allen who has led expeditions down that river for over 30 years, and the city ought to be paying Charles for his loss of revenue because of their decision to do something so vastly beyond their knowledge and skill set as to create this controversy in the first place.
Those who defend the "Dallas Wave" without regard for the safety and health of others who might be harmed there are just plain selfish and inconsiderate, and they are acting as if they are the only ones who matter!
It is irresponsible to send people down to the river to play if you know the river is hazardous to their health. I suggest that those pro Wave people start by looking deeply into the issue. And if you find the data and the professionals to challenge the EPA, and TCEQ standards to bring them forward and share that data with us all. The city may be on the hook for a big chunk of money if they knowingly put in place a situation that promoted possible life threatening access.
The City is already under a constent decree for issues including some with Cedar Creek and the Zoo. The recent Pig blood incident also shows that they still have a way to go to keep the river clean. Lucky for the park and play crowd that the slaughter house was down stream of the wave.
I served as a participant in the process to develop the IP plan for the e.Coli TMDL.many hours went into that process. I am not just pro rec, or anti park and play. I brought to our community a great film festival celebrating the paddling spirit of all kinds.
There was a representative from TCEQ to answer question of water quality if anyone was interested. The stream team folks were there to let you know what they are all about.
I know for many paddlers the trill of high water is irresistible. It just so happens that is one of the most harzardous times to be in the water from a bacterial stand point.
I wasnt excluding anyone, and the fact that the water is unfit IS questionable as to why the would opt to spend $$ on the park before spending it to clean up the river. More instruction from the rental folks other than "go that way" helps. I started a a rec boater as did many of us. Even then most swims were the result of inexperiance,wich inturn resulted in beer cans,coolers, plastic bags ect floatin down stream.While you say that I am harsh on canoeists,you yourself seem to be rather intolerant of kayakers. To me it seems more of a sweeping the dirt under the rug situation as far as why the city wont alow water testing or a area to be reworked for easier canoe passage. Kayaking is on of the fastes growing sports and playboating compititions bring big names like Jackson, just to name one.That brings in sponsors and media and fans. All who spend $$. Who wouldnt like to playboat in winter with air temps in the 60s? Maybe this was the idea behind the whole thing in the first place?? All I know is if the water quality is as bad as you say, I myself wouldnt be boating there.
As a kayaker I do take some offence to the asumption that we are a "small minority". The kayaking comunity is a far reaching brotherhood that has and does great things to help with river clean up and consevation. Obviously the fact that the city government took over the design plans for this feature is the root of the problem, not the kayakers.While I respect REAL canoeists, most of the time the folks that rent canoes are inxeperianced and leave more trash behind for someone else to pick up. I agree that ther should be a safe "line" for canoe travel but instruction on how to paddle throuhg this is simple...lower your center of gravity before you approach the rapid by kneeling down and remain parralel to the center of the canoe. Read the river, dont try and blast through the biggest "hole" .Look for a section that has a gradual drop rather than one that has a single standing wave, this is the " hydraulic" that playboaters want. Take the rapid straight on, if your sideways,your swimming.Most importantly WEAR your pfd (life jacket) and put your crap in a bag and secure it in the boat.That way you wont drownd and no one else will have to clean up after you.
I think the standing wave park was a waste of money and a hazard to navigation. That being said I think the Canoe bypass can be fixed. I have gone over the site hundreds of time on Dart trains. I think the city should join together the two bypasses into one chute and extending the chute an extra 15 feet would solve the problem of being suck back into the hydraulics of the standing waves. Also at the end of the chute put in a level concrete strip for 10 feet to get rid of the hump of water jet at the end of the chute that dumps the canoes. Use google earth and check out this out. At least if you some how did flip the canoe you wouldn't be pulled into either of the waves.
Why don't you ask your good friend, the honorable Mary Suhm to explain the situation and answer all of your questions. After all, it is up to her, the rest of those yahoos you asked only do her bidding.
City of Dalla's biggest mistake was not testing water AFTER rainstorm before building feature. Paddle the rivers when there has not been a lot of rain and water is not as contaminated due to run off. Elm Fork from just below Lewisville lake to Hebron Pkwy (6miles) or McInnish Park (12m), Carrollton, Sandy Lake Rd. is worth the drive, less trash etc more wildlife. Downtown FW is OK as well. Many other places. It will be decades before Trinity river in Dallas has clean water if ever, there are thousands of dogs contributing to it, don't let our face go in there! or take Amoxicillin on drive home.
Parts of the Trinity River are on the 303d list. The frustration of dealing with the city toward the betterment of the river is maddening. Sure they have liability issues to think about, but we should be able to make arrangements within a reasonable time period. Sites assigned to be tested in January have not been available to us for many months. Some of it, logistics, just getting people all at the same place in time. We have two issues at the park which are quality of the water; hydro-logically - the water going through the wave features and around them as well as quality of the water from a health stand point. Some paddlers are willing to shut their minds to both and think "i'll be OK" with no real way to control that outcome. Water quality has no easy answers here but shutting out the public is not the answer.
White Rock Creek as well as Rowlett Creek and up sections of the Trinity are all wonderful places to paddle and each have their own issues. But the issue here is a man made feature in an area of the river with man made water quality issues. As of yesterday, there are no sign around the Wave area that explain the feature at all in any term except construction zone and the hazards of moving water.
It would be nice if the bypass channels design were shown so paddlers could get an idea BEFORE running that safe alternative to the waves. Remember we are talking about going from Class I flat water conditions to a moment of ? up to class II+ which is beyond the skill level of many casual Trinity River paddlers. Even the ability to look into the bypass channels is difficult requiring walking around to the bridge going over the river or fighting your way up the river left bank. With Sylvan Street access closed, there is no reasonable up stream signage either.
Sure running rivers is NOT a protect activity and there are risk any time you get in the water.
What does a Frisbee Golf course cost to install?
I'm a paddler....I'll paddle anywhere; the ocean, rivers, swamps, you name it. I would never attempt to kayak in Dallas, it's a sh+thole!
My wife and I are always on the look out for ways to get the kiddos hip-deep in nature. It would make owning a canoe much more sensible if we could use it on the closest water course that can support a 4-man/15'+ canoe. White Rock Lake is fine & all, but actually navigating a _river_ down through forest & such is much more interesting to the tykes.
I am not pinning our putting off a canoe purchase on the City of Dallas's diddling of the doggy regarding the "water feature"...but it sure would be a point in favor of buying one if we had access to the Trinity from up north down to the forest. A fine "not-so-urban day adventure" for the kiddos thta is easy to get to and plan for. Might even get them to appreciate the Trinity as something more than what we drive over to get to Ft Worth.
FTR, we have canoed most of the Rio Grande along Big Bend with our Cub Scout and Daisy in Spring & Fall and never saw anything so perilous as this water feature.
This whole Trinity River situation is just a crying shame.
@tasx3Then please tell me what part of "unfit for contact recreation " you don't understand? And why during the past year , were there no person representing the park and play crowd at the e.Coli TMDLs at NTCOG? There is NO question. The data is in, The Trinity and that particular section is WAY above the TCEQ, and EPA standards. The water may not be abel to be cleaned up, and certainly NOT only by the city of Dallas. There are also TMDLs for heavy Metals, PCBs and nuterients in teh works. The issue isn't solely the e.Coli standard.
Instruction from rental people is not going to clean up the river. Particpation from river users can, but clean ups are not just floatables or trees.
I am curious as to where you think I am harsh on yakers? Asking for participation in getting the river cleaned up? Questioning city expenses or building personal training facilities with public money? This isn't Dubai, or are we are going to build slopes for snow skiing? Perhaps more kayakers would perfer better boat ramps? more paddle trails put ins and take outs?
What other group gets the city to put in a 4.5 million dollar play park? Within the park department lands, we could have built a virtual paradise of fribee golf courses. Perhpas even a faster growning sport than park play with a larger audience that is not dependent on water flow. $20,000 to $100,000 sets up a lot of those course.
For a sanctioned sports event at the Wave park you would need to acquire a guarenteed flow rate for a period of time. Perhaps not the easiest thing to do unless you think the flow rate of 350 cfs is really exciting enough to bring in a kayak event.
@tasx3 Let me guess. The first time YOU got into a canoe or kayak you were a master of lowering your center of gravity, reading the river, remaining parallel to the center of the canoe (whatever the hell THAT means) and controlling where your boat went in moving water.
In the real world it does not work like that. Your self-importance seems to say that those without YOUR level of expertise should just stay off the river. You completely overlook that people were using that river for general recreation long before DH conned the city into building that thing at taxpayer expense for his personal profit.
Kayakers who do "park and play" are a VERY small minority of all recreational boaters. That is a fact. Doubt it? Go to ANY major river like the Buffalo (Arkansas), Current (Missouri), Guadalupe (Texas), Mountain Fork (Oklahoma), or any of several hundred others I have paddled over the last 38 years and an objective observation will confirm what I am saying.
The major difference is that those other rivers are not rated as being "unsafe for contact recreation" because of chemical and fecal contaminants.
@tasx3Compared to a general population, kayakers are a small population. In the world of paddlers, especially around here, they are probably the dominate type of paddlers but wheter that holds true for the park and play type is another issue. Those that wanted or will use the wave or propably small in number Now take that same 4.5 million City dollars and see what services you could provide either in a park or a different area like libraries and you soon see that it was a questionable expense. This in the light that the quality of the Trinity water is unsafe for contact recreation and will probably not be any time soon. I don't think any are saying that kayakers don't desire to have fun nor is any one saying they are terrible stewards of the environment. I don't think throwing around assertions that rec paddlers are pigs gets the discussion of water saftey any where; certainly not productively. All indications are that the City failed to consult canoeist, and those qualified to help prior to just doing it.
You can not EXCLUDE a class of people because you want to make them unreal. They are real and desever all the consideration as your REAL people. Kakyakers and canoeist, rec and white water can all get along.
A fix will cost money, money that the city doesn't have and with no guaranty that they'll get it right. i suspect this will go on for quite some time. I don't see the "getting sucked back in the wave" as the probelm. The bypass channels have an increase in bad conditions as the water level goes down. making an ever narrowing path to navigate. http://www.canoeadventures.net/conservation/conservation_tx_bypass.html shows the channels and the Wave park.
@planokayaker The City of Dallas is well aware of water quality issues following rain fall. There is a recent TMDL for e.Coli in the Trinity River watershed. It is in fact, part of the problem with the park. When does it become attractive to paddler looking for waves to play on? After a rain brings up the river above the lower end of design at 400 cfs. When is the river the most active with e.Coli? yes, after the rain. With a regular flow rate just below 400, the design almost calls out for paddlers to use it at it's most hazardous time for both flotables and water quality. An of channel wave park could have taken care of that problem, and should have had to pay for itself.
The Elm Fork does offer some OK paddling and is up stream from many of the contributing issues in water quality.
The paddle trails group, several organizations working together, is working with the Cities of Dallas, Irving, Carrolton, Lewisville and Farmers Branch to add more paddling trails to the TPWD trail system.
It's Texas Stream Team that the Down River Club members are volunteering to participate in that take them down to the Trinity Wave Park. Stream Team is a state wide volunteer program that get data on water bodies to those professional that can use another source in the field, City of Dallas, Irving, Forney, etc have Stream Team volunteers.
@JimSX I recall you paddled a kayak up there. Do you think a canoe could manage? Our kiddos are not of age to do their own paddling, yet.
A damn shame........non use of a resource is a ridiculous crime. My kids and I are engaged with nature; I couldn't imagine what I'd do if I lived in Dallas city. I just don't want me kids to be "that kid", you know, the slovenly vidjja game turd.
Seems ilke you just want to rant to someone. If you read my response correctly then you would have known that I was agreeing with you as to why the city would spend $$ for a unuseable waterpark. And as to you idea for freebe golf couse .. Dont think that cuttin down a bunch of trees so folks can chase a little ball around is very eco-friendly either.Still seems like your blaming the boaters for the city's mistake.The city could have always said NO.But you still seem to miss the point that boaters, more so than the "hey lets go paddle a canoe/kayak for sometihg to do"folks put alot of effort into water cleanup and conservation. Organisations like American whitewater help to raise awarness and cleanup projects that address ALL issues of river contamination.Even small Organisations do these things, Outdoors Inc sponsors numourous cleanup events for the Mississipi river near Memphis. Arkansas canoe club's Annual home town throwdown has events for ALL level of boaters as well as shore line cleanup at 3 different locations in 3 days. Just to name 2 that I personaly know. If your looking for a group that might try and actualy DO something about the pollution levels you couldnt have picked a better group.
Oh And remaining parallel to the center of the canoe means dont lean to the left or right. This is called "edgeing" and it takes time and pratice to aquire this skill without overturning your boat.Even more so when 2 or more pepole are involved.
No Marc, i swam just like most However on my next canoe outting the rental folks took the time to give this same instruction.As wll as reminding us to secure our stuff so it wouldnt get washed out if we did flip. And on the contrary I think the more pepole who get to enjoy boating and learn that a day on the river is better than any T.V. or video game the more pepole might care about the water there floating on, and drinking and bathing in and giving their children. You may think that playboaters are a small group but you fail th realise that playboating requires a specific range of flow for the specific hole. Too sticky= can be dangerous, too flushy = not much fun. And we also run creeks and rivers, just not in playboats...most of the time. Most boaters have 2 or more types of kayaks, so just because we arnt playin in the hole today dont mean we wont be there the next day.
@ejpaddler Looking at the pictures of the bypasses on Canoeadventures website, there is too quick of elevation change, it comes close to being a waterfall.
I still think connecting the two bypasses would help and after seeing these pictures, the bottom should be lined with cement at a gradual angle. No sudden drop off.
@planokayaker There are paddlers that the city has listened to that are willing to advise the city to build it because they are willing to assume the risk of illness and death. They don't however, carry an insurance policy to cover the city nor for others subjected to the water quality. They seem in fact , quite in different to it and almost willing to say if it bothers you, stay out of it. You can read that, thanks City of Dallas for building us a semi private play park with city money to the tune of 4.5 million and yearly maintenance. And if someone gets sick and dies, good luck paying for it.
Well you wouldnt have since I dont live there . But that dont mean that I would never boat there. The only reason I posted a reply was because as I had previously stated, your story seemed to put some the burden for the whole mess on the fact that the play boaters wanted this feature. I have agreed with you on most of the points you have made but you still seem to think that the only concern any of the groups I have mentioned only concern themselves with trash on the water by your repeated use of the term " floatables" in your previous responses. And raising the acceped levels is like saying smoking a few cigarettes are ok.It realy sounds like the city is trying to cover their ass. And if you cant change their minds, change the pepole in office
@tasx3Yes, I have. I spoke with the ACA national office since several members of the kayakers the city was listening to told them they were people to talk to. They want to push a raising of the number considered safe but NOT making the water any safer. I also spoke with a lead scientist at the EPA in Washington DC. I have spoken with several knowledgeable folks at the RiverNetworks. as to batteries and oil containers; Did i say that they did qualify as a floatable? NO. tasx3, you seem to enjoy connecting dots where none were before. I have made no mention of them nor did I see you anywhere prior to just now. Marc and I were both at a TCEQ public hearing on water quality prior to the City of Dallas request being turned down for a relaxation of standard to allow for a higher e.Coli number to be considered safe. I can safely say you were not unless you work for the City or TCEQ.
Yeah I missed the FRISBIE part of that golf statment. And has anyone in the boating comunity got in contact with American Whitewater or any other outside organisation to raise cnocern over the water quality? Old batteries and used oil containers dont realy fall into the" Floatable" catagory
Have either organization put any money into our local problem of e.Coli as identified in the TMDLs? Again we are not talking floatables.
@tasx3Frisbee Golf is not a white ball cutting down trees. It can be using an established park and having a few metal post installed with baskets. You throw a disk around the course. There is also Ultimate frisbee , but that another matter.
Its stories like this that make these type of projects unatractive to the investment. What you should have called this story is how not to build a water park. Useing a treatment/playpark model, the cost can somewhat be offset by the increased tax revinew from the attraction.The real benifet ofcourse is a cleaner watershed. I have broached this subject with a few others in my paddling comunity concerning a non functional lowhead dam. But apparantly a simmilar plan was proposed in another area and was met with so much red tape and skeptisim that it was eventualy abandon.Much to the same reason that sparked my intal post, the amount of Quote'"local boaters" were demed to small a demographic to warant the coast of such a project even though it could have been a Green project and had the potential to have numerous positive impacts on the comunity .From new buisness and jobs to once again.. better water.
What IS the local boater asso. stanc on the water quality issue? do they realy want to ignore the longterm water quality problem for the instant reward of doing front flips and mcnasty's?
THey did/do have another feature penciled in for their grand plan where a lake empties into the river. Where that enteres the river is a 17 foot drop, they'd get the extra airation and be able to install a course with built in features. That water would be feed by the treament facility. It would provide a somewhat clean supply of water. This needed the EIS, Envorinmental Impact Statement, to move forward. The Wave portion was put in place as part of that which as far as I know has yet to be approved but only needed an EA - environmental assessment which I though required an approved EIS but I must have read the regs wrong.
I was down there today and two young men were using it. Not too happy with teh flow, and totally unaware of the quality of the water. Unaware that South side of the Trinity had a Superfund site ( also a ??? when I asked if they knew what it meant).
I agree,I just cant see why the city would agree to build a play park on water that IS known to be toxic.Or why the park and play comunity would want them to.4.5 mill might not have built a treatment system,but it would have benn a good start. Given the known level of contamination I cant see why someone didnt suggest/submit a proposal that would have conjoined a treatment center with a playpark feature AND a recreational canoe/boat passage. A system like that could be the inovative wave(pun intended) of river cleaning systems. And certanly would have put Dallas on the map as a model for others to follow.
@tasx3 @MarcI would agree that it is a stange thing to encourage park and play usage in a river that is on the 303 d list, 0805 segment, but the use of 4.5 million is also an issue. While 4.5 is not big money in teh grand scheme of teh city budget, it is a substantial piece of public funds and could have been used perhaps much more wisely.
I asked at the TMLD meeting for e.Coli what is the realistic levels that the Trinity can be lowered to and all the professional thought it was a good question. No one knows.
Well I guess I just dont quite understand why ANYONE would go near the water in the first place then. Be it in a canoe OR kayak. Form the content of this story the main issue seemed to be navigational problems for canoeists,caused by a poorly designed playpark for kayakers, not the fact that the water is a hazerdous waste dump.
Edging is a term that is used to refer to the act of presenting more hull to the downriver flow. It is used for ferrying accrost rapids, into eddys and can ease turnig.
I agree that raising the levels of contamination makes absoulutly no sence.
But neither does canoeing the river then either So i refer back to the begining if the water quality is the main issue... WHY is ANYONE allowed to be on it?? And that should be the Main point of this article not the fact that the kayakers got a playpark.
@tasx3 Just so that you will know my level of understanding, in the past few months I have solo paddled the Green River (Deso/Gray Canyons) in Utah, Main Salmon in Idaho, Paluxy (at 2,000 to 4,000 cfs) in Glen Rose (3 times in January and February alone), the entire Upper Canyons of the Rio Grande in Big Bend, Rio Chama in New Mexico, various reaches of the Arkansas in Colorado, the very flooded Upper Buffalo (Boxley to Ponca) in Arkansas and numerous other rivers.
Unlike park and play people, I actually paddle rivers, and for 12 of the past 16 years I have canoed over 1,000 miles per year, topping 1,500 miles in 2008 alone. I think I understand about things like reading rivers, lashing gear and swimming huge rapids. I also know that those lessons take years to learn and internalize, not a lesson or two, and certainly not a brief instruction from an outfitter right before getting into a boat.
As to your comment below about "edging", I have been paddling on rivers since 1975, and never once have I ever heard that term used. Also, being parallel to the center of the boat is NOT the same thing as being IN the center of the boat. But, I do know that professional instruction includes teaching how to lean a boat, often close to the tipping point, in order to control directional movement, especially when navigating big waves and holes (and I don't mean those pansy waves and holes on Shitt Creek, er, the Trinity's Dallas Wave.)
But, you have completely missed Eric's point, which is that both EPA and TCEQ, neither of which is known to be a strong defender of public safety, have clearly labeled Segment 0805 of the Trinity (where the Dallas Wave is located) as UNSAFE FOR CONTACT RECREATION, and the ONLY people arguing against that designation are the park and play boaters. Now, YOU tell me why these boaters who lack the scientific credentials to understand the hazards causing that designation to be applied are arguing that the designation is wrong because frankly I do not comprehend that argument at all.
An intelligent person can argue opinions, but not facts. That Segment 0805 is designated "unsafe for contact recreation" is a fact, not an opinion. Trying to raise the threshold for determining what bacteria level is harmful to human health so that somebody can rationalize going to play in contaminated water is about as stupid as anything one could possibly do.
I think we all agree a longer channel for the second wave channel. The way teh scond river bank wall was built, it does ineed psh the water back toward the center of teh river while at teh same time getting narrower as the river's CFS gets lower.
And we also agree that there is NO easy way, and up until teh completeion of the bike /walking trail, a way to look down at the bypass channels themselves. I too have gone over the wave, not through the by pass; mostly just in protest of the design and as a good trip participant. Do ride to extreme with inexperienced riders from my motorcycle days.
As one who has ridden the bypass-the biggest problem is that is is not straight and that it ends with and angle that creates a jet (You can see it from google satelite view) that catches the boat right at the end of the wall and drives it into the hydraulic of the wave next to it. No matter the skill level--and we had an experience play boater try it later at a much lower flow rate--it is almost impossible to avoid that jet and keep upright when it hits. The wave itself is much safer because at least it is a straight drop.
They might be able to fix it if the separation wall on the inside extended enough to prevent the jet from driving the boat into the wave. Of course the stairstep drops, extreme elevation change, and angle of the bottom chute are also huge problems for most boaters.
And, I am a kayaker (though not a playboater) and I do know what I am doing, but I wasn't expecting the jet (again, the city did not let us in to scout the area and the google photo did not yet exist) so, at 1200+ CFS the jet slammed me into the wall, then spun my boat around and over driving me into the hydraulic. Definitely not my idea of a good time. Not just the toxic water--but I couldn't get back out and my buddy couldn't get past the jet to throw me a rescue line. I don't mind getting dumped occaisonally--part of the sport--but I do mind getting trapped in a water shredder when I was aiming for a "safe" bypass.
Had I gone over the main wave, the official "white water" section, I would probably have been fine. I have no beef with the main wave (other than that it is ugly), or the playboaters who love it, but the bypass is the real white water challenge.
I put in right at the Mockingbird Bridge East side parking area where the White Rock Paddling Company sets up shop.opposite side from the dog park. If it is a windy day or you just want to paddle a creek instead of a lake, you just paddle away from the lake. There is one split past the DART rail tracks that you bare left an dit can take you all the way to Skillman. Many downed logs tyipcally prevent that without getting out of the boat. If you prefer staying away from the lake, putting in at Goforth closer to Flag Pole hill is also an OK spot but sometimes you need to navigate past the fishermen to put in.