It occurs to me after sending the Sunday Paddle call last night that there may be some of you who've never been on the Goose - since access there has been blocked by various authorities since the 9/11 attacks.- that's 18 years ago now. The theory behind the 2001 access-closing was that Osama Bin Laden and his merry men were lusting to poison the water supply of Fairfax City - which took it from the main Goose dam and reservoir. Now access is coming back, thanks to Loudoun County Parks and inquiries and trips coordinated by various CCA volunteers.
The Goose, about 30 minutes down Route 7 from the Beltway, was a favorite stream for beginners moving up and for training, as it has one of the largest watersheds of our nearby creeks (340 sq. mi.) meaning plenty of water on many days - and it has about five Class II rapids and and the signature Class II+ Golfcourse Rapid that are excellent for rising intermediate paddlers. But in the past year that we've been taking trips out there, only 14 individual paddlers have come - and of those 7 have been CCA trip-leading recidivists. More paddlers should take the plunge.
The watercourse we now use starts at an impromptu put-in on river left - off Sycolin Rd just after it crosses the Goose - at this point a backed up portion of the reservoir. First we paddle a bit over a half mile to arrive at the dam - a 17-foot high structure that used to be the put-in place. There we descend a steep trail around the right side - where we're encouraging the Park to put in steps - a long-term project. Steve Ettinger, Ed Grove, and Roger Corbett's books describe the last section. In all it's a bit over five miles, and takes two hours. See two maps and a river description by Ron Canter on the CCA website.
The remains of the old take-out are just upstream of Route 7, at the pocket Keep Louydoun Beautiful Park with new (2021) take-out - and put in. Below that are another two Class IIs and a Class II+, in descending to the new (ca 2012) take-out at Kephart Bridge Landing - as fine a special T.O as one might hope for. Paved parking lot, gentle access to the river, and, in season, a jiffy-john. The only draw-back is trying to find it in the residential subdivision without a GPS. With that, plug in 43942 Riverside Drive in Sterling - and avoid the street spuriously called "Canoe Landing Court." This is where to start your trip. Full run is (Sycolin Rd - Kephart Br. Ldg) is 5.3 mi (rev. 28 Jan 2021)
(July 2021) See maps and pictures on the CCA Homepage in Goose Creek Access Analysis and Recommendations and
for Sycolin Road Bridge to the Potomac see the new (Jan 2021 account on the American Whitewater database at: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/view/river-detail/1937/main
A pair of paddling maps up to Evergreen Mills and links to extended historical accounts of the Creek are on the CCA website at: https://canoecruisers.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=86&club_id=394800https: //canoecruisers.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=86&club_id=394800