The Duck River in Tennessee has been recognized as the most biodiverse in the world, and it’s also a beautiful and relaxing place to spend a sunny day. In recent years it has become an increasingly- popular spot for kayaking.
But there are times and situations when the need for safety outweighs the desire for recreation.
Representatives of state and county agencies continue to discuss the need to better inform kayakers about when it is and isn't safe to take to the Duck.
“We welcome visitors, and we’re pleased that people are able to enjoy the treasure that is the Duck River,” said Bedford County Emergency Management Agency Director Scott Johnson. “But kayakers do not need to be on the river in times of increased flow. First and foremost, we don’t want anyone to lose their life in a preventable accident. But even in the best-case scenario, a search and rescue operation costs the taxpayers money and takes emergency personnel away from other duties.” Rescue operations in high water also place emergency personnel themselves at risk.TVA has given permission for Bedford County to close the parking for river access points at Dement Bridge and Three Forks Bridge for safety when the release of water from Normandy Dam is at 400 cubic feet per second or higher. The easiest way for kayakers to determine this is through the TVA Lake Info app, available for both iOS and Android devices. ( https://www.tva.com/environment/lake-levels/tva-lake-info-app ) There are other mobile apps available that give the current flow information, not just at the dam, but at various points on the river, and these can be helpful as well.
Commercial kayak rental businesses will prohibit their customers from taking the river in unsafe conditions, but in recent years kayak sales in southern Middle Tennessee have been brisk, and those who own their own kayaks sometimes use them irresponsibly.“We want to keep people safe,” said Johnson, “so that they can come back to the river on another day.”For more information about boating safety in Tennessee, go to TWRA’s website at https://www.tn.gov/twra/boating/regulations-and-safety-concerns.html.