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DANCES WITH ICE FLOWS ... NOT!

 

Over a decade ago, canoe racer Scott Wilkinson discovered relief from the pain of winter training in the raging warm waters below the discharge canal of PEPCO's Dickerson Generating Station. Long known for excellent warm water fishing (Hey, even fish can tell the difference between freezing and comfortable!), now paddlers too schooled to its healing waters.

 

One morning an eerie light shone down on the culvert's falling waters, and looking upstream, Scott perceived a delusion... - It's a Whitewater Slalom Paradise! - Stricken with a paddler's affliction similar to Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon's, he tromped off into the power station in search of the impossible dream. Fortunately Scott happened on two other pioneers; Dick Shakeshaft (Plant Manager), and Bill Sim (Vice President, Operations & Construction) who somehow were persuaded to share his vision. (Must be something in the water!)

 

To start with, PEPCO funded a project feasibility study. Scott, and his racing partner John Anderson (AlA), rushed to construct a 1/12th scale, 75' long model of the discharge culvert, and moved it to the David Taylor Research Test Center in Carderock, MD where Navy hydrodynamicists agreed to support the research. The process of testing potential course obstacles went on for over a month before a final configuration was designed.

 

Soon PEPCO, caught up in the enthusiasm, and impressed by the professional effort, gave the green light for the construction of the full scale whitewater training course. What followed was an unbelievable symphony of volunteer effort, and donated professional services. In less than ninety days after the study was started, construction of Scott's paradise was completed. American athletes were on the water in their own artificial river, and they proclaimed it: "Awesome! The Dickerson whitewater course stands today as the only Olympic caliber training facility of it's kind in the world.

 

Thank you, John and Scott, for your vision, and those endless volunteer hours; truly a Gold Medal performance!

 

   

 

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Last updated: January 18, 2006

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