... your poll question did not mention that you might have General, Rafting, Kayaking.
If you have those three, people often might have to look in both General and whichever one they are into to find information/advice/etc.
Might be slower sometimes than having everything in one forum?
Some similar thoughts on the Gear forum -- then some things people look for might then be in three different places.
What about splitting Gear into:
Tough to grow and change without (hopefully just a minority of vocal) people people bitching, but it takes some careful thought to find the right balance and flow