The hydropower industry is pushing legislation that threatens your whitewater. We encourage paddlers to share their personal experience enjoying rivers where hydropower projects provide recreational flows. We oppose any bill that would undermine the public's ability to balance hydropower interests with non-power values like recreation, fish and wildlife.
Late last week, the Commonwealth of Virginia took a great step forward in enhancing public access to rivers and streams. Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a memorandum of understanding that directs three state agencies to work together to identify new potential public-access projects, particularly at bridge crossings and roads. American Whitewater applauds the efforts of Governor McAuliffe to keep Virginia residents and visitors alike connected to the Commonwealth's outstanding rivers and streams.
Last fall the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department solicited input on the designation of a segment of the Molalla River that includes the Three Bears run as a State Scenic Waterway. American Whitewater is actively supporting this designation. We encourage the paddling community to attend the meeting and file comments.
Last fall the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (ORPD) solicited input on the designation of a segment of the Chetco River that includes the Chetco Gorge as a State Scenic Waterway. American Whitewater is actively supporting this designation. We encourage the paddling community to attend the meeting and file comments.
American Whitewater is extending the grant application deadline for the Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign to August 1st. Back by popular demand, this program is great way to help your club fund activities that enhance and promote river stewardship and safety. Funding for this program is provided by the Clif Bar partnership with American Whitewater. AW affiliate clubs have the opportunity to apply for one of two $1,250 grants.
Montana's awesome Class IV/V West Rosebud Creek will be running this weekend thanks to a recreational dam release. These releases are relatively subtle increases in flow that bring the creek into prime paddling levels, and were negotiated by American Whitewater and Beartooth Paddlers. This may be your only chance to paddle West Rosebud this year, so Enjoy!
American Whitewater is accepting photos for our 2016 Calendar now through August 1, 2015. Submitting photos through our online form is simple, and we can't wait to see your best shots. Thanks to all of our contributors!
Two Savage River recreational whitewater releases are sponsored by the Adventuresport Program at Garrett College in McHenry, MD this year: Sunday, July 5 and Saturday, September 26. Permission to use the take-out over VERSO property for future events depends on paddlers utilizing the shuttle, so please participate in this great service. Come visit the Savage and find out what the excitement is about!
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
The 21st Deerfield Riverfest will be held on July 11th in Charlemont (MA). The annual event celebrates whitewater boating on the Deerfield River that resulted from the historic settlement agreement signed by AW, FLOW, AMC and others which provides 106 whitewater release days on the Fife Brook section and 32 releases on the Dryway section of the Deerfield River. The festival is AW's biggest fundraiser in the northeast and supports our stewardship work in the region. See you at the Fest!
Today, the U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released the new Clean Water Rule. The rule will continue longstanding water quality protections for our nation’s rivers, headwater streams and wetlands. American Whitewater supports the rule, and asks paddlers to take action to support the rule today!
The Forest Service released their decision yesterday to formalize roughly 1.5 miles of existing undesignated trails and build less than 1000 feet of new trails to improve access to the Upper Chattooga River for all visitors. This step is well within their normal range of management actions and begins the process of bringing the trail system in the river corridor up to modern standards.
Please save the date of Monday, June 15th, from 5:30-8:00 PM for a Cedar River Recreation Workshop. King County is developing the Cedar River Corridor Plan to address multiple objectives related to floodplain management and salmon recovery including consideration of impacts and opportunities for recreation in the corridor. Input from paddlers is important.
On Wednesday, May 13th the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing about the draft "Hydropower Regulatory Modernization" Act, which proposes to gut important environmental and public interest protections in the Federal Power Act. These are the very tools that American Whitewater and our partners have used to put water back in rivers across the country that were once completely devastated by the impacts of hydropower. If passed, all of the whitewater and access gains we've made over the last 25+ years could easily become a thing of the past. We encourage everyone to contact their Representatives and make their voices heard.
The Flathead National Forest has released the list of streams they propose to protect as “eligible” for Wild and Scenic designation in their forthcoming revised Forest Plan. Paddlers with opinions on the list are encouraged to send the Forest an email or letter before the May 15, 2015 comment deadline. Your comment could help protect spectacular rivers and streams.
U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) has released a discussion draft of a bill that is, by far, the most dangerous piece of hydropower legislation for rivers that we've seen in over a decade. The proposed "Hydropower Regulatory Modernization Act of 2015" would take the hydropower industry back to the days that brought about massive hydropower development during the last century, where developers could dam a river, take out all of the flow and barely give a second thought to the fish, wildlife, habitat or the recreation economies that depend on them.
Following a two and a half year process, the Upper Nooksack River Recreation Plan, has been finalized. This new, comprehensive plan will help guide the management of recreation and natural resources along the upper Nooksack River system in Washington state. The plan recognizes and supports the economic and health benefits of recreation, along with protection and restoration of the natural and cultural values of the upper river basin.
May 2nd will be the first Saturday Upper Yough release of the year, and hundreds of white water paddlers will converge on the small town of Friendsville, MD. After $25,000 in paddler-donated seed money and $160,000 in grants raised by the Town the new parking area is complete and awaiting final approval. We hope the parking will be open, but please park on the side of the road if it isn't. Please observe the usual courtesies when in town: don't drink alcohol in public, change clothes or relieve yourself where others can see you, or park in residential areas along the river. And do take time to patronize the businesss in town who are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
The current agreement for water in the Ocoee River with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) expires in 2018. A new agreement is needed. TVA is exempt from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s requirements because of its uniques structure as a quasi federal agency. Write your representatives today supporting a legislative solution that would require water for releases.
Friends of the Cheat, a long time partner of American Whitewater, will put on the 21st Annual CheatFest on Saturday May 2nd. It's an all day event with races, kid's events, great music, and of course, whitewater! FOC works tirelessly to improve water quality in the Cheat River Watershed and was a key player in the recent protection of the Cheat Canyon. They currently maintain three river access areas on the Cheat and Big Sandy Rivers which they built with help from AW.
On Saturday April 25th, Snohomish PUD will be providing a whitewater recreational opportunity on the Upper Sultan River. This class IV gorge is a great piece of whitewater in a spectacular setting. If you wish to check it out, be sure to sign up with Snohomish PUD.
Northeast boaters are celebrating the end of a long, cold and snowy winter and are making boating plans for the year. Here is the 2015 Northeast Release Schedule
The schedule for the first year of operation of the Holtwood Whitewater Park has been posted on the dam owner's website. American Whitewater and our local partners negotiated the construction of the park and 264 hours of releases annually as mitigation for impacts of the Holtwood Hydroelectric Project. The first scheduled release is on Saturday March 14, 2015.
Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis introduced legislation last week that will require the National Park Service to study and reconsider their management of non-commercial paddling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The legislation is the result of significant dialog among the Parks, conservation-oriented paddlers, Representative Lummis, and others.
Last week the State of South Carolina issued the final permit that Duke Energy needed before the federal government could issue them a new license for operating their dams. With a new license now expected sometime this year, paddlers can start gearing up for some big changes in the Catawba Watershed including new conservation opportunities, access areas, water releases, and stream gages.
Connecticut boaters have a great opportunity to protect the Lower Farmington River and
Salmon Brook. One of the best tools for protecting our rivers from harmful dams and diversions is
the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. American Whitewater is working with our partners in Connecticut
to designate sections of these rivers as Wild and Scenic, including the Tariffville
We need paddler's voices to make this a reality. Please join us in supporting efforts to enact federal legislation that will permanently protect these rivers for future generations.
We are pleased to share the 2015 schedule of Class IV and V scheduled dam releases for Western North Carolina and North Georgia. American Whitewater and our partners negotiated these releases over the past two decades, and the result is 34 days of outstanding paddling opportunities for advanced paddlers on the Cheoah, Tallulah, Upper Nantahala, and West Fork of the Tuckasegee.
Earlier this month Montana's Kootenai National Forest found Callahan and Ross creeks to be eligible for Wild and Scenic designation in response to an appeal crafted by American Whitewater. This decision will protect these two awesome streams from hydropower development for current and future generations. The Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle national forests however left many worthy streams unprotected, and disregarded paddling values on several incredible streams.
Earlier this month American Whitewater and the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program (RTCA) hosted a series of meetings and site visits in the Harper's Ferry, WV area. We met with roughly 35 interested groups and individuals, including 18 leaders from the paddling community, and visited over 20 river access sites. The meetings kicked off a collaborative effort to create and implement a river access Plan for the Harper's Ferry area, and were highly successful.
The legislative session is underway in Washington State and earlier this week we were shocked to learn of a bill that would severely limit access to the state's rivers and shorelines. Specifically the bill would prohibit water access on small parcels of public land that do not provide formal parking.
Punch Bowl Falls is one of Oregon’s iconic scenic and recreational sites on the Hood River in the Columbia Gorge. At the confluence of the east and west forks of the Hood River, the site has been privately owned and its future remains to be determined. Our goal is to see the site become a public park and we encourage the boating community to join that discussion.
Anticipation was running high for the first public dam releases on the newly constructed Holtwood Whitewater Park this fall, however the final round of testing in early October revealed more work was needed before opening the park. Testing and modifications are ongoing, and we'll release a schedule of releases early next year. The good news is that the waves are going to be incredible.
In the final days of the 113th Congress, several river conservation measures have been passed designating significant new Wilderness Areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers in areas vitally important to the paddling community.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has released their draft management plan for the Green River Gamelands in North Carolina. This plan addresses all uses and activities in the iconic Green River Narrows, as well as the Class III+ Upper Green and the Class II Lower Green. This place and this plan are important to many paddlers in the southeast and across the globe. You can review the plan, and send in a comment by January 16th, 2015.
Currently several National Parks across the country are considering increased fees for park entry and wilderness permits. A number of National Parks provide whitewater paddling and we want to make sure our community is aware of the opportunity to provide comment on these proposals.
Whether you live in Colorado, or visit the state for its world-class paddling, American Whitewater needs your help to keep our Colorado river stewardship work going. Colorado Gives Day - Colorado's largest fundraising event - is Tuesday, December 9th. That day, people from across the country can come together to support non-profit organizations working in Colorado. This year, our goal is to raise $5,000 to support efforts to protect instream flows for recreation and defend public access to rivers in Colorado. Whether its $10, or $1000, please make your donation today. You can learn more about how to help us meet our goal here...
The future of late summer flows in the Colorado River is at risk, and we need your help to show how important these flows are to paddlers. Front Range entities are questioning whether paddlers even use the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon after Labor Day. If you enjoy the Colorado River, please take two minutes to write a letter to the City Manager of Glenwood Springs. You can help prove that paddlers enjoy late summer flows and prevent the Front Range from taking away an entire month of the paddling season!
Through Outdoor Alliance, American Whitewater joined today with the Outdoor Industry Association to support the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers' proposed Clean Water Protection rule. The rule clarifies Clean Water Act protections for rivers and streams that offer world-class recreation opportunities that improve the quality of life and provide the economic foundation for countless communities. "It's important to American Whitewater's membership that these headwater streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act," said Kevin Colburn, National Stewardship Director.
Last week the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the case over the Forest Service’s 2012 decision to implement restrictions on paddling the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. Conservation-oriented paddlers, Georgia Forest Watch, and the Rust Family had asked the court to overturn various portions of a lower court decision that favored the Forest Service. These requests were denied, and the lower court ruling was upheld by the Fourth Circuit.
American Whitewater works to protect and restore the whitewater rivers across the country that you love, and we rely on your ongoing support to keep us going strong. Twice each year, American Whitewater reaches out to you to ask that you become a member or renew your membership to American Whitewater, or to consider making a tax-deductible donation. Learn more about what your contribution will support in our 2014 Winter Appeal!
American Whitewater submitted comments this week to the Bureau of Reclamation in opposition of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam slated for the San Joaquin River in California. The proposed dam would inundate a reach of river that the Bureau of Land Management recognized as suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System for its cultral and scenic values. Temperance Flat Dam will have steep economic and resource costs while yeilding little water, and is not the solution to California's extreme drought.
The Forest Service is seeking comments on their Environmental Assessment and proposal to upgrade and designate the trails and access areas that paddlers and others use to access the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. Comments are due by midnight, November 7, 2014. Your comments can help encourage high quality and sustainable hiking and paddling opportunities, and help clarify that no permit should be requied to paddle the Chattooga River upstream of Green Creek.
The Friendsville, Maryland paddler parking lot is being finished. This lovely town of 500 people, is doing what it can to accomodate the hundreds of paddlers who arrive here for summer releases on the Upper Youghiogheny River. The project owes much to the vision and leadership of long-time resident Jess Whittemore and the support of Mayor Spencer R. Schlosnagle and Town Council. American Whitewater helped paddlers raise $25,000 towards the lot and this "seed money" has helped attract over $200,000 in grants! We thank the town for their persistence, and their ongoing support for Upper Yough whitewater.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is proposing to build another large dam on California's San Joaquin River. If built, the Temperance Flat Dam would have significant impacts to the San Joaquin River Gorge, including drowning several Class III-V whitewater runs, such as Patterson Bend. The BOR took a major step forward in bringing the dam into reality when it released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project last month. You can stand up for the San Joaquin by attending a public hearing during the week of October 13th, or submitting public comment by October 27th.
Northwest Power Services recently filed a preliminary permit application to construct a hydropower project on the Talkeetna River. The Talkeetna is known to many as Alaska's best backcountry whitewater trip. The developer proposes to construct a 2300 feet long and 370 feet high dam located in a scenic canyon just downstream of the confluence of Disappointment Creek. A public comment period is now open for this project.
If you've enjoyed getting out on the water with more concern for your shuttle than whether the river you're paddling is polluted, you likely have the Clean Water Act to thank. Over the last eight years, there's been a lot of uncertainty about whether certain headwater streams and wetlands are covered by the Act. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are taking public comment through November 14th on a proposed rule that brings clarity to this issue. American Whitewater supports the proposed rule, and encourages you to weigh in!
The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) has denied Red Flat Mining Corporation's application for a water right for exploratory mining activities in the headwaters of Baldface Creek and the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River! The international mining company seeks to develop a nickel strip mine in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area, which is one of the most remote and expansive backcountry areas in Southern Oregon. This is an important victory in the effort to protect the crystal clear waters of Southern Oregon, however our work is far from over.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department wants to hear from you about whether three Oregon rivers should be protected as State Scenic Waterways. Sections of the Molalla, Chetco and Grand Ronde, all of which are well known and loved by Pacific Northwest paddlers, are up for consideration. The agency is seeking public feedback. Comments can be emailed or you can respond to a short survey by October 15th.
California's Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests are home to many rivers cherished by the whitewater community, including the Kern, Kings, and Merced Rivers and Dinkey Creek. On Monday, September 29th, American Whitewater asked the Forest Service to recognize the importance of these and other rivers for whitewater recreation activities, and to update and expand protections for them. Our comments come as the three forests begin the NEPA process for updating their forest management plans.
American Whitewater was recently notified that our appeals of the new Forest Plans for the Kootenai and Panhandle National Forests were successful. These forests, in northern Montana and Idaho respectively, contain incredible whitewater streams where paddlers might see grizzly bears, 10-foot white sturgeons, or even a caribou. The result of our successful appeals will almost certainly be the protection additional rivers and streams from hydropower dams and other threats.
American Whitewater congratulates the Garrett College Adventuresport Institute for managing another successful season of Savage River whitewater releases. The river, which hosted the 1989 World Slalom and Whitewater Championships, offers five miles of very continuous Class III-IV whitewater that's a joy to paddle. Program Director Mike Mike Logsden and other Garrett College personnel arranged parking, shuttle service, put-in and take-out access, release of liability for the stake-holders, and the removal of dangerous river debris. Takeout procedures this year were re-designed to avoid a dangerous road crossing. Expenses related to the shuttle service and strainer removal was paid by donations from participating boaters. If you enjoyed yourself, send a brief thank you to firstname.lastname@example.org
After an initial round of meetings, earlier in the summer, the Oregon State Marine Board has announced that they will be doing another round of meetings and will continue to seek feedback on the needs of the non-motorized boating community. We encourage those who paddle in Oregon to join the conversation and provide feedback through the meetings or an online survey.
This year's Sullivan Creek releases will begin September 3, and will continue each day for at least a couple months. These releases, the gage, and a related dam removal were the outcome of a collaborative negotiation between the regional Public Utility District that owns the dams, American Whitewater, and a suite of local, state, and national groups.
Gauley season is just around the corner and in preparation for fall releases American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area informing boaters of planning efforts for this season.
On Monday, August 4th American Whitewater submitted testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks in support of three bills that, if passed, will protect important whitewater rivers in Colorado, Montana and Washington. These include the Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act (S. 1794), East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (S. 2392), and the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act (S. 2602). Our testimony follows the sub-committee hearing held on July 23, 2014.
American Whitewater and Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) partner to present the new DamNation film produced by Patagonia at NOC’s main campus in on the Nantahala (NC) on Saturday, August 16, at 8:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, July 23 at 2:30 ET, Colorado Senator Mark Udall will lead a hearing of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee on a suite of land and river conservation bills. The hearing will focus on several bills that are near and dear to the paddling community, including bills to protect Browns Canyon (CO), East Rosebud Creek (MT), and the Mountains to Sound Greenway (WA). Read more to see how you can help.
The Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group has begun work on a Lower White Salmon River Fish Habitat Conservation Strategy and as part of this effort they are hosting an online meeting through this Sunday July 20th (you can join any time). We encourage the whitewater paddling community to contribute to the discussion.
This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the Deerfield Fest, an annual celebration of boating on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. The festival is an opportunity to come together with your paddling friends and listen to live music, check out the festival vendors, and maybe win a boat and other gear at the silent auction.
Help protect rivers in Western North Carolina! On Thursday, July 10, 2014, the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests will be hosting a meeting in Asheville to solicit public input on their current Forest Planning effort. A lunch-time Wild and Scenic River session will be offered for people to recommend new protections and improved management. You can expect a poster or two to check out, a friendly Forest Service staffer to chat with, and some comment cards to fill out. There may be no easier way to save rivers on your lunch break!
Throughout July you can help keep our rivers flowing just by sharing your summer adventure photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! For every photo Tweeted, or posted to Instagram or Facebook with the tag #MeetTheMoment, CLIF Bar will donate $1 to American Whitewater. We know you're already sharing your summer fun photos with your friends. Add #MeetTheMoment for a simple and easy way to support American Whitewater's work to restore and protect the rivers you enjoy!
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council is currently accepting public comment and holding public hearings about important river protections that impact freely flowing rivers throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana. Hydropower developers have sought to weaken these protections, and we encourage you to speak up for freely flowing rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest today! Comments are due by July 25th.
Submit your best photos for American Whitewater's annual calendar by August 1st, 2014. You can submit your photos via our simple online form. If your photo is selected you'll get a free copy of the calendar plus the feeling of knowing you helped us put together this important fundraiser!
Twice each year, American Whitewater reaches out to ask that you help support our work to protect and restore rivers across the country, and ensure that the public can enjoy them safely. Our 2014 Summer Appeal highlights our key projects for the rest of the year, and as you'll see, we've got our work cut out for us–from the Department of Energy's call to dam every river, to projects to protect and restore cherished rivers throughout the country. As a whitewater lover and fierce defender of rivers, your support is more important than ever to help us see these projects through. You can help by becoming a member or making a tax-deductible donation today!
American Whitewater joins a coalition in unveiling a new "Destination Darrington" map as Highway 530 opens to all traffic this weekend restoring access to recreational opportunities along the Sauk and Suiattle Rivers.The colorful brochure map spotlights recreational opportunities around Darrington and local businesses.
The Senate unanimously passed a drought relief bill for California last night. There's a good chance that important river protections, restoration efforts and the Wild and Scenic Merced will get caught in the middle when the bill goes to conference in the House. Help us keep these river protections strong! No matter your home state, contact your Senators and Representatives to speak up for rivers in California and Wild and Scenic Rivers everywhere!
Last week the U.S. Department of Energy released a report on the potential for new hydropower projects across the country. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced that the U.S. has the potential to add more than 65.5 GW of new hydropower to the nation's energy portfolio by damming over 3 million river and stream reaches by 2030, including iconic rivers like the Penobscot River in Maine, the Tuckaseegee River in North Carolina, and the Smith River in California. If fully developed, these hydropower projects would destroy over 1,700 whitewater runs across the country.
The first Saturday release on Maryland's busy Upper Youghiogheny River is on May 3. The takeout town of Friendsville, Maryland doubles its population on release weekends, so paddlers need to do all they can to minimize their impact. Please park respectfully on Maple Avenue and don't block traffic. Avoid the riverfront (Morris Avenue or Water Street) unless you have an invitation from a property owner or business. Public drinking and nudity are offensive to local residents so please use the change areas provided. American Whitewater will maintain the put-in facility in Sang Run for the 11th consecutive year. We encourage paddlers to make donations towards upkeep expenses: we suggest $2 per visit or $20 for the season.
Dates for the New River Dries Paddling Flow Study have been confirmed for May 6 and 7, 2014. Volunteer paddlers with suitable (Class IV) skills are encouraged to participate in the study, and to RSVP.
American Whitewater congratulates Friends of the Cheat as it celebrates its 20th anniversary at the annual Cheat River Festival on May 3rd. The organization, founded by a group of whitewater paddlers and local residents, has been a driving force in the river’s rapidly improving water quality. The river, which was badly polluted when the group was founded, recently passed a significant milestone: the lower 26 miles of the Cheat River main were removed from the state’s list of acid-impaired waters in 2012! In addition, FOC maintains four paddling access areas on the Cheat and Big Sandy Rivers. American Whitewater worked closely with FOC in developing these sites. For more information on this year's CheatFest use this link: http://www.cheat.org/our-work/cheat-river-festival/.
Thanks to the tireless work of The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund over 3,800 acres of the Cheat River Canyon were recently protected. The acquisition covers a 7 mile stretch of the Cheat River between Albright and the high bridge at Jenkinsburg, the famous “Cheat Canyon” whitewater run. Great news for the Cheat!
2014 marks the second year of restored paddling opportunities on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee. The first of 7 releases this year will be on April 19 and 20, and we would like to share some important facts and lessons we’ve learned about the river to help paddlers know what to expect. First and foremost, be aware that this run requires Class IV/V skills and a commitment consistent with wilderness rivers given the remote nature of the gorge and private property.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce our April Volunteer of the Month, Jess Whittemore. For his leadership in securing additional boater access at the Upper Yough (MD) takeout Jess will be receiving a custom Kokatat Woolcore Shirt!
Paddlers that run the New River Dries (WV) between now and July 31, 2014 are encouraged to fill out a flow study survey after each day on the water. Submitting surveys will add important data to the Extended Whitewater Evaluation Study and will greatly help American Whitewater and others negotiate improved flows for the New River Dries.
On Friday, March 14th, Yosemite National Park released their Final Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, announcing that boaters will have the opportunity to enjoy the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne by kayak on a trial basis. While we’re pleased that the Park has placed boating on equal footing for this reach, we're disappointed that the plan continues to prohibit boating on the rest of the river.
American Whitewater would like to commend the Shoshone National Forest for expanding their roster of rivers protected as “eligible” for Wild and Scenic designation under their new Forest Plan. American Whitewater participated in their forest planning process and offered evidence and recommendations for several new eligible streams. All told over 82 miles of spectacular rivers receive new protections under the new plan.
Earlier today, Yosemite National Park released their Merced Wild and Scenic Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. The new plan places paddling on equal footing with other activities in the Park, and we're very pleased to announce that the Park Service has improved and enhanced opportunities to enjoy Yosemite via kayak, canoe and raft.
Earlier this week we posted a quick article informing our community that American Whitewater would not pursue the Senate version of the River Paddling Protection Act, ending our exploration of a legislative solution to the management of paddling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. We’ve obviously gotten some questions about this decision and would like to offer a more robust explanation.
American Whitewater has decided not to pursue a Senate version of the River Paddling Protection Act, ending our exploration of a legislative solution to the management of paddling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Advocating for this legislation in the Senate with insufficient support would exhaust resources better spent on promising conservation projects, would damage valued relationships, and would be unlikely to produce a favorable outcome.
The River Paddling Protection Act, introduced by Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), passed the US House of Representatives on Thursday and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill grants the National Park Service three years to replace 60 year-old paddling prohibitions in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks with modern science-based management. Doing so would allow Americans to experience these iconic landscapes through non-commercial paddling in a low impact, sustainable, and carefully managed manner.
American Whitewater offered testimony on several so-called "low-impact hydro" measures before the Vermont House Committee on Fish, Wildlife & Water Resources. In reality, all hydropower has an impact on rivers, and even small hydropower projects can have significant adverse impacts. AW encouraged the Committee to require state agencies to seek out and consider input from stakeholder groups like American Whitewater before deciding whether to support projects.
A new version of the River Paddling Protection Act, HR 3492, was sent to the full House of Representatives yesterday when it passed in the House Natural Resources Committee by unanimous consent. The bill will ultimately help thousands of Americans connect with the rivers flowing through Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in a healthy, low impact, and environmentally sustainable manner. We've included a list of Q&A's as a partial response to recent media articles.
Great News! Yesterday, Virginia's "Freedom to Float" bill passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. The bill could now move to the full VA Senate for a vote as early as Tuesday of next week (1/28/14). It is more important than ever that every paddler that enjoys Virginia rivers contact state Senators.
Five days before Christmas, a Limited Liability Corporation initiated a lawsuit in South Carolina asking the court to declare a section of the South Fork of the Saluda River non-navigable. American Whitewater and the Foothills Paddling Club have filed a motion to intervene in the case to defend the public's right to paddle this river and others.
We are pleased to announce the 2014 scheduled pulse flows on the Bear River's Black Canyon located in southeastern Idaho. Releases will vary from 900 to 1500 cfs based on inflows to the hydropower project, and offer outstanding Class IV and V paddling opportunities.
American Whitewater recently filed formal objections to proposed Forest Plans for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, and the Kootenai National Forest in Montana. The objections assert that the Forest Service ignored their own policies and the facts before them when they determined many spectacular whitewater rivers are not eligible for Wild and Scenic designation. If successful, we'll bring vital protection to many awesome whitewater streams in the Northern Rockies.
American Whitewater has consistently worked to restore flows to rivers in the Southeast that were previously de-watered by hydropower operations. In addition to vast opportunities for beginners and intermediates, we have helped create an incredible series of advanced paddling opportunities on the Tallulah, Cheoah, Nantahala, and West Fork of the Tuckasegee. Check out the awesome schedule for 2014!
American Whitewater and Vermont Paddling Club have filed a Motion to Intervene in hydropower relicensing application filed by Morrisville Water & Light for the Green River dam. We are asking FERC to require the utility to provide 8-10 annual releases on this scenic and challenging run in northern Vermont. While MWL has agreed to provide two scheduled annual releases, we are seeking additional boating opportunities through the relicensing process.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 9th for Wild Rivers Night! American Whitewater joins Northwest Rafting Company and our river conservation partners to bring you a fun evening of films, photos and presentations celebrating the wild rivers of Oregon. Doors open at 7 p.m....reserve your tickets today!
The BLM has recently announced a series of community listening sessions as part of the revisions for Resource Management Plans for Western Oregon. American Whitewater has engaged in this process and we will be advocating for river conservation and the value of whitewater recreation on BLM-managed lands. Some of the rivers include Umpqua, Alsea (and Drift Creek), Nehalem, Wilson, North Santiam, and Rogue. You can help by attending a meeting or contributing information to our database.
Last week the River Paddling Protection Act, HR 3492, was discussed in a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee. This bill aims to lift a 60-year-old federal-level ban on paddling rivers in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in favor of normal and flexible river management. Aaron Pruzan testified on behalf of conservation-oriented paddlers, and we are actively working to improve and pass this landmark legislation.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Protected Areas Program protects about 20% of rivers in the Pacific Northwest from future hydropower development. Hydropower developers are working to weaken the Protected Areas Program, and paddlers' voices can help maintain this important river protection program. The Council is receiving comment on the initial recommendations through Wednesday, November 20th.