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AW and Friends Protect Right To Paddle In South Carolina!

posted June 28, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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Yesterday, American Whitewater and our partners won an important case in the South Carolina Circuit Court, in which a landowner sought to privatize a section of the South Fork of the Saluda River. The Court’s language is clear and unambiguous in its finding that the South Fork of the Saluda River, including the Class IV Blythe Shoals, is legally navigable under state law. This is a huge victory for all of South Carolina’s citizens and visitors that enjoy paddling the State's rivers!

License Denied for New Dam on Bear River (ID)

posted June 18, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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This week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioned (FERC) issued a final order denying a license for the Twin Lakes Canal Company’s proposal to build a 109-foot-tall hydroelectric dam on the Bear River in southeast Idaho. American Whitewater and our partners have worked diligently for over 14 years to protect the Oneida Narrows section of the Bear River, and we’re celebrating this final decision, which will keep this section of river freely flowing!

Take Action: Bad Hydropower Legislation Still in Play

posted June 6, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Negotiations on an Energy Bill are about to get underway and the hydropower industry wants a piece of the action. Under the guise of "modernizing" hydropower and "reducing costs," the hydropower industry is working feverishly to get a free pass on environmental regulations that help us restore flows to rivers. If they are successful, it will damage our work to restore flows and enhance whitewater recreation downstream of hydropower projects. Take action today to help us restore rivers and keep them flowing.

AW Seeks Flow Restoration on the New River Dries (WV)

posted May 27, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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Immediately downstream of the New River Gorge, a beautiful 5.5-mile section of the New River has been dewatered for generations. Paddlers call this reach the New River Dries, and know it for the huge surf waves that form at high water. The Hawks Nest hydroelectric project removes 10,000cfs from the Dries, leaving only 100cfs except when high flows overwhelm the dam. The relicensing of the dam offers a once-in a lifetime opportunity to restore flows to the New River. American Whitewater filed comments today with federal regulators outlining our vision.

Montana National Forest Proposes New Stream Protections

posted May 27, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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The Flathead National Forest is a treasure trove of whitewater paddling thanks to the three forks of the Wild and Scenic Flathead River, the Swan River, and many robust tributaries. Today, the Forest released their new inventory of streams they intend to protect as eligible for future Wild and Scenic designation.  The inventory includes 22 outstanding streams, 10 of which are new eligible streams totalling 125 river miles. These streams were recommended for protection by American Whitewater, our partners in Montanans for Healthy Rivers, and citizens from across the state and country. 

Take Action to Protect Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)!

posted May 17, 2016
by Megan Hooker
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Mining companies want to develop nickel strip mines on public lands in southwest Oregon’s Kalmiopsis region, threatening several cherished whitewater rivers in SW Oregon and downstream in NW California (Baldface Creek, NF Smith, Rough and Ready Creek, Illinois). The Department of Interior is considering whether to protect these lands from new mining claims and is currently accepting public comment. Many of you have already shown your support for protecting these amazing rivers from these threats, and we need your voices again!
 

Harpers Ferry Access Options at Outfitters Clarified for 2016

posted May 16, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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Over the past couple years American Whitewater has been working with regional paddlers, the National Park Service, and other interested folks to improve river access on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers near Harpers Ferry, WV. One outcome of that effort has been recognition of the parking, access, and shuttle services the rafting outfitters in the area offer provide. The outfitters worked with private boaters to share a fact sheet of the various services they offer, which you can download.

Tell the NRCS Thank You for the successful Green River Diversion Project.

posted May 3, 2016
by Nathan Fey
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American Whitewater is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Green River Dam rehabilitation project. This is a big win for the Green River and we want to thank our partners at the NRCS for their role.

Please take a second to sign our thank-you letter and tweet your thanks for a successful project!

CT River Update: AW Responds to Flow Study, License Application (MA/VT/NH)

posted May 2, 2016
by Robert Nasdor
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The relicensing of 5 hydropower projects along the Connecticut River is moving closer to conclusion with the release of the whitewater boating study report for Bellows Falls and Sumner Falls (NH/VT). American Whitewater and its affilliates filed comments today in support of the study conclusion that valuable whitewater boating opportunities exist at both locations. AW and its partners also recently filed comments in response to the Draft License Application filed by FirstLight for the Turners Falls and Northfield Mountain (MA) hydropower projects, demanding restoration of flows to the natural river channel.

Dolores River Release Updates for April 2016 - CO

posted April 27, 2016
by Nathan Fey
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Cortez, CO - Over the past several months, AW and agencies in the Dolores River basin have been studying anticipated runoff and inflows into McPhee Reservoir in Southwest Colorado, and negotiating how best to provide optimal paddling conditions on the lower Dolores River. The most recent forecast was released today...

Weber River Whitewater Study—Focus Group May 3, Ogden, UT

posted April 21, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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PacifiCorp is hosting a whitewater focus group for the Weber River Hydroelectric Project. Focus group participants will help provide an understanding of the whitewater boating opportunities and use patterns on the reach of the Weber River downstream of the Project diversion. Environmental Resources Management will be conducting the focus group.  Your input is needed on whitewater boating opportunities, use patterns, flow preferences, and access in the Scrambled Eggs run.

Soak Creek is Tennessee’s Newest Scenic River

posted April 20, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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Soak Creek has been named Tennessee's newest Scenic River—the first to earn the designation in 15 years. A tributary of the Piney River, this free-flowing creek serves as critical habitat for the iconic species of the Cumberland Plateau and provides a wide range of outdoor opportunities for all ages as it winds through a scenic gorge and along the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park. The designation helps to formalize the work local landowners, nonprofit groups and state agencies have done to ensure the public has access to this pristine natural treasure for generations to come.

Sultan River (WA) Release April 23rd!

posted April 8, 2016
by Megan Hooker
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Snohomish PUD has announced a scheduled whitewater recreational opportunity on the Upper Sultan River on Saturday, April 23rd. This Class IV gorge is a great piece of whitewater in a spectacular setting. The run is in a remote location and the opportunity is still relatively new. We recommend that boaters who have not done this run before have solid Class IV creeking skills and seek first-hand reports of it. In addition to providing a whitewater boating opportunity, these flows will benefit the overall health of the river. Read on for more information about the release and to learn how to register. 
 

Paddling on Public Lands at Risk

posted March 31, 2016
by Evan Stafford
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Forty three percent of paddling in the United States is on public lands. These shared lands form the backbone of our access to wild rivers, they are our American inheritance, and they are under attack. Last year congress passed a resolution that paved the way for our forests, wilderness areas and parks to be put up for sale. 

Friendsville and AW prepare for the 2016 Release Season

posted March 29, 2016
by Charlie Walbridge
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As the whitewater release season begins, it's time to celebrate our partnership with the town of Friendsville, MD, the takeout for the popular Upper Youghiogheny River. American Whitewater works closely with the town, negotiating the releases and managing parking and other issues. The new parking area is now entering its second season. Paddlers raised $25,000 in seed money and a $10,000 in-kind donation which in turn attracted $160,000 in grants to build it. Don Millard, a paddler from Fort Hill, PA, mows the grass here and at Sang Run. Thanks to his work river access fees are unusually low: The season opens on Friday, April 15 and every Friday thereafter. The first full weekend is May 6-9; Cheat Fest Weekend! Please observe the usual courtesies when in town: Use the rest rooms and change facilities at the parking area. Don't drink alcohol in public and avoid loud behavior that would disturb nearby residents. Never park in residential areas along the river. And take time to patronize the many businesses in town who are eagerly awaiting your arrival. Click through for more info on the river and the release schedule:

New Flows on the NF Feather (CA)

posted March 29, 2016
by Evan Stafford
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The North Fork of the Feather River will be boatable every day for the rest of 2016! Flows will increase because of a revised flow schedule and the wet year we are having in California. Almost twenty years ago, American Whitewater made it our goal to restore the North Fork Feather River and this new flow regime is a testament to our success.

Oregon Paddlers! Take Action to Protect the NF Smith River!

posted March 24, 2016
by Evan Stafford
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Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission is considering whether to protect the North Fork Smith and its tributaries under the Clean Water Act's highest type of water quality protection. The river is threatened by a nickel strip mine proposal in its headwaters, and you can help protect the North Fork Smith and its tributaries by weighing in

Dave Brown, Protector of the Ocoee and Gauley, Looks Back

posted March 24, 2016
by Charlie and Sandy Walbridge
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Dave Brown, the man behind Friends of the Ocoee and Citizens For Gauley River, has announced his intent to retire as executive director of America Outdoors, the national outfitters association. The team of lawyers and scientists he assembled in the early 1980's to keep the Upper Gauley from being dammed - Pete Skinner, Pope Barrow, Mac Thornton, and Steve Taylor - later became the core of a Board of Directors that revitalized American Whitewater. He also organized the first Gauley Festival, which would later be handed over to American Whitewater. Outfitters have been a vital part of the coalition seeking to protect whitewater rivers and Dave has been an outstanding leader in these fights. Click through for his refections on his remarkable career.

White Salmon Boaters: Use Caution Downstream of Powerhouse!

posted March 23, 2016
by Megan Hooker
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A rotary screw trap is being installed on the lower White Salmon River on Thursday, March 24, 2016 to monitor juvenile salmon and steelhead. Boaters should use extreme caution near the trap, which is located on river left about 0.6 miles downstream of the powerhouse. Warning signs have been installed upstream of the trap location. The trap is part of a study to monitor juvenile salmon and steelhead in the White Salmon River after the historic removal of Condit Dam.
 

Upper White Salmon Wild and Scenic River Listening Session (WA)

posted March 22, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The Forest Service has been managing the Upper White Salmon River (upstream of Farmlands) as a Wild and Scenic River since it was designated by Congress in 2005. The Forest Service has schedulded a public listening session for April 28th to solicit feedback on the development of a river managment plan.

New and Bigger Dams Threaten California Rivers

posted March 22, 2016
by Evan Stafford
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California is emerging from a multi-year drought and numerous dam proposals threaten rivers throughout the state. These proposals do little to address the state's water concerns and come with a hefty price tag. American Whitewater is focusing efforts to stop these unnecessary surface storage projects.

Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenauer Work to Promote Outdoor Recreation

posted March 17, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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This morning, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon released the Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act, which is an effort to recognize the importance of recreation on public lands and waters.

Malad River Gets Additional Water This Year (ID)

posted March 15, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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Thanks to a turbine replacement project requiring a hydropower diversion to be shut down for much of 2016, paddlers will get a longer and better season on the Malad River this year. Have fun and be safe out there! 

Help Preserve the Yellow Dog (MI)

posted March 3, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Every spring paddlers in the Midwest make their annual pilgrimage to enjoy a few weeks of great whitewater on the creeks that flow into Lake Superior. One of these creeks is the Yellow Dog in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve is working to purchase private forest land along the river and make it a Community Forest. The goal is within reach and the paddling community can make a critical contribution.

#FindYourPark and Show Us Your Rivers

posted March 3, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The National Park Service is celebrating its Centennial this year (2016) and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act’s 50th anniversary is coming up in 2018. We encourage the paddling community to get out there, take photos, and enjoy rivers while finding your park! You can help tell the story of these rivers which supports their conservation and stewardship by sharing your photos.

Spokane River Advocates Petition State to Increase Summertime Water Flow (WA)

posted March 1, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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American Whitewater joined in petitioning the Washington Department of Ecology to amend its inadequate flow rule for the Spokane River. In setting the rule, the state agency ignored all public comments in support of protecting the Spokane River, and adopted a flow rule of 850cfs, a flow that is too low and jeopardizes the health of the Spokane River and public uses that include whitewater recreation. We are seeking a minimum summertime flow of 1,800 – 2800cfs to support fisheries and recreation, and protect higher flows for recreation when available.

Volunteer of the Month: Edgar Peck!

posted February 3, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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We are pleased to recognize Edgar Peck as the Volunteer of the Month for February.  Edgar facilitated a successful effort to buy a new put-in on the classic Watauga River near Boone, North Carolina. Together with the take-out AW owns, the public is now guaranteed permanent access to the outstanding Watauga River. 

2016 Lehigh River Release Schedule Announced (PA)

posted February 1, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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The U.S. Army Corps Engineers’ Philadelphia District released the 2016 Flow Management Plan for the Francis E. Walter Dam in White Haven, PA.  The whitewater release schedule includes 24 dates (4 of which are dependent on sufficient water storage and not including final October weekend).

Paddlers Speak Up for Maryland's Upper Yough

posted January 29, 2016
by Charlie Walbridge
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Paddlers made a strong showing at the January 28th Deep Creek Watershed Planning Meeting in McHenry, MD. Releases from Deep Creek Lake that support paddling on the Upper Youghioghenny River have been under attack by homeowners on backwater lots who are left high and dry during droughts. Friendsville town councilman Jess Whittemore and Upper Yough outfitter Roger Zbell have been ably representing whitewater paddlers for years. Jess told me that the presence of so many boaters, especially those who own property in Garrett County, made a strong impression on the County Commissioners. They were also impressed by the many thoughtful emails recieved from paddlers throughout the East. This will put us in a good position for the 2019 relicensing. Thanks to Friendsviller paddler and attorney Bob Allen for representing American Whitewater. Jeff Macklin photo.

Chetco and Molalla Rivers Designated State Scenic Waterways (OR)

posted January 28, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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This week Governor Kate Brown designated Oregon’s first new State Scenic Waterways since 1988. Portions of the Chetco and Molalla Rivers highly valued by the whitewater boating community were chosen as rivers that meet the Scenic Waterways Act criteria for outstanding scenic, fish, wildlife, geological, botanical, cultural, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
 

Planning Effort Underway for Nooksack River Watershed (WA)

posted January 6, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The Washington Department of Natural Resources is embarking on a new planning project that will guide recreation on DNR-managed lands in the Nooksack River and Whatcom Lake watersheds for the next 10-15 years. The effort will kick off with two public open houses that will be scheduled for January.

Legislative Update - LWCF & Hydropower Bill

posted December 22, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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This month, American Whitewater supporters stepped up, took action, and made a difference on two important issues that have a big impact on river conservation and recreation. As Congress wraps up the session for 2015, here’s an update on where things stand with hydropower legislation and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. 

Paddlers Rally for River Protection in Western NC

posted December 17, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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This week marked a major milestone in our efforts to protect Western North Carolina streams using the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. American Whitewater and numerous paddlers wrote to the Forest Service to share the exemplary values of the region's whitewater gems and to argue for their full protection. We would like to thank all the paddlers that attended a public meeting or wrote an email to the Forest Service.

Hydropower Development at Ernies: Developer Continues to Pursue (WA)

posted December 11, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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On December 1st Black Canyon Hydro LLC filed its License Application for the Black Canyon Hydropower Project. If constructed, this project would involve dewatering Ernie’s Gorge and putting it in a pipe to generate hydropower. We expect that a public comment period will soon open providing an opportunity for feedback on their application.

Yosemite Seeks Comments on Wilderness Plan

posted December 11, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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Yosemite National Park recently announced that it is beginning the process of updating its Wilderness Stewardship Plan, and has requested that the public provide comment about the future of the Park's Wilderness lands. As we celebrate that boaters can now access the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers within the Park for the first time in decades, the rest of the rivers in the Park remain closed to paddling. The Wilderness Stewardship Planning process provides an opportunity to ask the Park to consider changing this. American Whitewater successfully advocated that the Park view "rivers as trails and boats as backpacks" on the Merced and Tuolumne, and we believe this approach is relevant again. We encourage paddlers to speak up during the scoping process, which closes January 29th. 

Northeast Boaters Seek To Expand West River (VT) Boating

posted December 6, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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In response to of the state’s draft basin plan for southern Vermont, American Whitewater and scores of boaters pressed the state to support the expansion of releases on the West River. Restrictions by the Corps of Engineers and Agency of Natural Resources have led to the elimination of nearly all scheduled boating opportunities on the West River over the past two decades, eliminating recreation opportunity and hurting the local economy. AW and its partners have been working to restore these releases.

Deerfield River (MA) Flow Studies to Explore New & Improved Boating Opportunity

posted December 6, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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In response to requests by American Whitewater, several affiliates, and other stakeholders, FERC directed Brookfield Renewable to study the impact of its hydropower operations on whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. Boating groups and our supporters are seeking to determine optimal whitewater boating flows from the Fife Brook Dam and whether changes in hydropower operations would enhance boating opportunities, access and navigation.

Southeast Advanced Release Schedule Set For 2016!

posted December 1, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Tis the season when American Whitewater works with power companies and other groups to schedule the coming year's dam releases in the Southeast. In addition to hundreds of releases on Class I-III rivers like the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, and Catawba, we put together an outstanding integrated schedule of Class IV and V opportunities. Check it out!  

Help Protect Streams on Montana's Lewis and Clark National Forest

posted November 30, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Montana's Lewis and Clark National Forest is updating the inventory of rivers they protect as eligible for Wild and Scenic designation. Paddler comments on these streams on the Rocky Mountain Front and other great parts of Montana can help protect some of the state's most outstanding streams from dams and other potential impacts. Comments are due by December 15th, and make great Christmas presents for Montana rivers!

TAKE ACTION: Bad Hydropower Legislation Vote Scheduled!

posted November 30, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The House is expected to vote the week of November 30th on energy legislation (H.R. 8) that is really, really bad news for rivers. The bill comes as a response to the hydropower industry's efforts to weaken the authority of tribes and state and federal agencies to protect water quality, fish and wildlife, public lands and recreation. If passed, hydropower provisions of H.R. 8 would tip the balance in strong favor of the hydropower industry, and do so at the expense of the local communities that rely on rivers for their livelihoods. Paddler’s voices are important in the process and we encourage you to reach out to your member of Congress today!

Harpers Ferry Access Plan Completed (WV/MD/VA)

posted November 23, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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American Whitewater has worked with local paddlers and agency planners over the past year to create a river access plan for the Harpers Ferry, WV area. Two popular and scenic class III whitewater runs on the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers converge in Harper's Ferry, yet there are only 3 public parking spaces at the take-out and the public put-ins are far upstream on both rivers. The plan is the result of an outstanding effort by our members and partners, and we are now working together to improve river access opportunities based on the plan.

AW Responds To Connecticut River Boating Study (MA)

posted November 18, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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American Whitewater, along with other paddling groups and outfitters, filed comments with FERC responding to the Whitewater Boating Evaluation at Turners Falls on the Connecticut River. The study showed that there is strong demand for boating on this section of the Connecticut River if sufficient flows, scheduled releases, better access, and real-time information are provided. The groups filed the comments in order to provide additional information for the environmental review and to respond to the unsupported statements by FirstLight, the utility performing the study, claiming that there is little demand for boating at Turners Falls.

Brookfield, TransCanada Support #OptOutside on the Deerfield (MA)

posted November 17, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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In a partnership between advocacy groups, outfitters, and hydropower utilities, Brookfield Renewable Energy and TransCanada Hydro Northeast announced support for #optoutside, a national campaign started by REI designed to encourage outdoor recreation rather than shopping mall exploration on Black Friday after Thanksgiving. In support of #OptOutside and at the request of American Whitewater, the utilities will provide whitewater flows on the Deerfield below the Fife Brook Dam between 11-1 on November 27th.

Great Opportunity to Protect NC Streams

posted November 9, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Paddlers now have the chance to help protect Western North Carolina's best whitewater runs from dams and other impacts.  The Forest Service is accepting public comments in support of WNC rivers and creeks' eligibility for Wild and Scenic designation. No one knows our streams like paddlers, and our community is in a unique position to speak to what makes these streams special.  Explore a map of potentially eligible rivers, submit comments, and consider attending a public meeting.    

Help Restore the New River Dries Today (WV)

posted October 22, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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If you would like to see flows restored to the New River Dries, now is a very important time for you to let federal regulators (FERC) know your thoughts.  The power company has proposed zero releases, and no vehicular access to the top of the run in their Draft License Application.  American Whitewater is asking for releases and access, but it is important for individual paddlers to make their voices heard too.  Send your comments in no later than 10/31/15. 

Congress Fails to Renew Vital Program For River Access

posted October 2, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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American Whitewater is deeply disappointed to see Congress fail to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund ahead of its expiration on September 30. You can help us continue the push by contacting your member of Congress and highlighting the importance of this vital program that helps provide river access. If constituents speak up we can keep it near the top of the agenda and we will be able to get it reauthorized.

Federal Regulators Recommend Denial of License for New Bear River Dam (ID)

posted October 2, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Citing a host of environmental concerns raised by American Whitewater and our partners, the federal government has recommended denial of an application seeking to build a 109-foot-tall hydroelectric dam on the Bear River in southeast Idaho. Federal regulators agreed with our view that the Oneida Narrows represents a regionally unique and important river recreational resource that would be destroyed by the proposed dam, for which mitigation is not possible.

Join the Free The Snake Flotilla (WA)–October 3rd

posted September 21, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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Come out for the Free the Snake Flotilla in eastern Washington on Saturday, October 3rd! The rally is in support of removing the four lower Snake River dams. These four dams stand between salmon and their home waters, and are costing taxpayers millions of dollars to maintain while their benefits are in steep decline. Read on for more info on how you can join with fellow kayakers, salmon advocates, tribal members, anglers, outfitters, orca lovers, and business owners for a rally to free the Snake River!

Sullivan Creek Releases Have Begun (WA)

posted September 9, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Sullivan Creek is a beautiful advanced/expert level creek that tumbles out of the lush Selkirk Range in the remote northeastern corner of Washington State. American Whitewater worked with the power company and other local stakeholders to improve the fall drawdown water releases from Sullivan Lake for whitewater paddling, economic value, and ecological considerations. Drawdown releases began yesterday, and are anticipated to provide ideal paddling conditions starting today, and extending through much of the fall.    

Virginia Paddling Rights Clarified – Respect for Landowners Vital

posted September 3, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Virginia officials have confirmed that they consider Johns Creek and several other whitewater streams navigable and public unless proven otherwise. This is a common sense approach that respects the rights of citizens that own property adjacent to rivers, as well those who wish to rightfully enjoy those public rivers and streams. Legal challenges are possible though, and we encourage caution, discretion, and respect within the paddling community as this exciting development plays out.  

Take Action: Protect Kalmiopsis Rivers from Mining Pollution

posted September 1, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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International mining companies have sought to develop nickel strip mines within the Kalmiopsis region of SW Oregon and NW California for years, threatening the stunningly pure waters of cherished whitewater rivers, including the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith and Illinois. This month, we have an unique opportunity to protect these and other rivers in the region, and paddler's voices from across the country are important to making this happen. Submit your comments by September 28th!

Gauley River (WV) Open Letter To Boaters 2015

posted August 26, 2015
by Mark Singleton
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American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. The letter outlines important river information for upcoming fall releases. 

2015 Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign Announced

posted August 14, 2015
by Mark Singleton
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American Whitewater is proud to announce the two affiliate recipients of the 2015 Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign. Each group will receive a $1,250 grant to go towards their respective stewardship projects. Thanks to the many affiliate groups who participated in this year's grant process. Most of all, a huge thanks goes out to Clif Bar for sponsoring this wonderful opportunity for river stewardship!

Help Save Vital River Access Funding

posted August 11, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Since 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been a critical source of funding for important river access projects and other recreational pursuits across the country. This fund however is set to expire on September 30, 2015 unless Congress reauthorizes it. We’re calling on all paddlers to reach out to their Congressional representatives and ask them to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Dam Owner Offers No Releases on New River Dries

posted August 4, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
article photo 8

Yesterday, the power company that de-waters the New River Dries with the Hawks Nest Dam proposed zero dam releases to mitigate their impacts on whitewater recreation and naturally variable flow patterns.  American Whitewater will be offering a balanced response to this extreme proposal that outlines the value and potential for restoring significant recreational and ecological values to the New River.  

Protecting Oregon's Owyhee Canyonlands

posted August 3, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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The remote and wild landscape of the Owhyee Canyonlands of Southeastern Oregon is complete with deep red-rock canyons, wild rivers and plenty of opportunities for backcountry recreation. The region is also a stronghold to over 200 species, and has fascinating geology, unique ecology and deep history. American Whitewater is part of a coalition working to permanently protect 2.5 million acres of the Owhyee, and you can learn more about the region, our proposal to protect it and ways to support our efforts here! 
 

Hydropower Legislation Update & Action Alert!

posted July 24, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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Hydropower legislation is on the move in Congress and paddler’s voices are needed to protect our rivers. On July 22nd, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee introduced a comprehensive energy package, and the hydropower provisions hold many of the same dangerous outcomes for our rivers as the legislation we’ve been tracking in recent months. The bill opens the door for developers to dam and divert our nation’s remaining free-flowing rivers, and gives preference to hydropower operations over fish, wildlife and recreation values. Two markups are slated for the week of July 27th.
 

Hydropower Industry Continues to Push Legislation Threatening Your Whitewater

posted July 17, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Virginia Announces New Bridge Access Program

posted July 14, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

Take Action! Protect Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)

posted July 14, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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The BLM is considering whether to halt new mining activities for 5 years on roughly 100,000 acres in the Kalmiopsis region of Southwestern Oregon. This action, known as a "mineral withdrawal," would protect wild rivers like Baldface Creek, the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith, Rough and Creek and the Wild and Scenic Illinois from the threats of nickel strip mines. These rivers are not only whitewater gems, but also provide clean drinking water to downstream communities, are strongholds for salmon, and support the local economy. Paddler's voices from across the country are needed to support this effort.
 

Molalla State Scenic Waterway Public Meeting And Comment Opportunity (OR)

posted July 9, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Chetco State Scenic Waterway Public Meeting and Comment Opportunity (OR)

posted July 9, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

2015 Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign Grant Deadline Extended

posted July 2, 2015
by Mark Singleton
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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. 

West Rosebud Release This Weekend (MT)!

posted July 2, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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!

Submit Photos for the 2016 AW Calendar This Month!

posted July 1, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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!

Savage River Releases Coming Up

posted June 22, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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 26Permission 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!

Bellows Falls (VT) Flow Study Reveals Hidden Whitewater

posted June 2, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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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. 

Annual Deerfield Riverfest Planned for July 11th

posted May 29, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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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!

Support The New Clean Water Rule Today!

posted May 27, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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! 

Forest Service Supports Chattooga Trails (NC/SC/GA)

posted May 20, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

Cedar River Corridor Plan: Opportunity for Public Input (WA)

posted May 18, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Take Action: Hydropower Industry Legislation Hearing May 13th

posted May 8, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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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.  

Flathead National Forest River Protections Open for Comment (MT)

posted May 8, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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.  

Hydropower Industry Takes Aim on Rivers

posted May 4, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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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. 

Nooksack Recreation Plan Completed (WA)

posted May 4, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Merced in Yosemite–Officially Open at Last!!

posted April 27, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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On Friday, April 24, 2015, the Merced River in Yosemite National Park was officially reopened to paddlers! Even though the new Wild and Scenic River Plan was finalized a year ago, the actual rules and regulations for the Park were finally updated on Friday. This marks the culmination of seven years of sustained engagement by American Whitewater with the National Park Service and other stakeholders. 
 

New Parking Area Greets Upper Yough Paddlers

posted April 27, 2015
by Charlie Walbridge
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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.

Ocoee River (TN) Needs Your Help

posted April 23, 2015
by Mark Singleton
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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.

Cheat Festival (WV) Coming May 2nd

posted April 14, 2015
by Charlie Walbridge
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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.

Department of Energy - Still Aiming to Dam Every River?

posted April 13, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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Last month Politico reported that top Department of Energy officials continue to push their ambitious goal to double hydropower production in the U.S. by 2030. Hydropower companies have taken note since the DOE first announced its goal last year, and they continue to gear up to help. American Whitewater is deeply concerned to see that this goal continues to be promoted as a viable possibility. With less than 2% of our rivers in the lower 48 left relatively undeveloped, the Department of Energy’s vision to dam every possible river to double hydropower production is not one that we can afford to see. 

Sultan River Whitewater Opportunities to Begin (WA)

posted April 1, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

2015 Northeast Whitewater Release Schedule Set

posted March 27, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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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

Deerfield River (MA) Hydro Relicensing: Building on Past Success

posted March 24, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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Twenty years after reaching a historic settlement agreement on the Deerfield River hydropower relicensing that has transformed northeast paddling opportunities, we began another relicensing process this spring that will likely result in improvement in flows, access and facilities for boaters in the region.

Holtwood Whitewater Park to Open this Month (PA)

posted March 5, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

Yellowstone Paddling Legislation Reintroduced with NPS Input

posted February 17, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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. 

State Clears Way for New Catawba River Dam License & Releases (NC/SC)

posted February 16, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

Action Alert: Help protect the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook (CT)

posted February 12, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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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 Gorge. 

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.

2015 Class IV/V Releases Set For Southeast

posted February 2, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

AW Appeal Protects Two Montana Rivers, Others Left At Risk

posted January 30, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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.  

AW and NPS Co-Host Access Meetings in Harpers Ferry (WV/MD/VA)

posted January 26, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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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.  

Bill Restricting Access to Washington's Rivers Introduced

posted January 24, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Opportunity to Determine Future of Punch Bowl Falls on the Hood River (OR)

posted January 22, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Take Action: Protect Wild and Scenic Illinois and NF Smith Headwaters (CA/OR)

posted December 18, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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Mining companies are actively pursuing proposals to strip-mine in Southwest Oregon watersheds, threatening Rough & Ready, Baldface and Hunter Creeks and the Wild and Scenic Illinois and North Fork Smith Rivers. One of the surest ways to protect the wild rivers of Southwest Oregon is through a mineral withdrawal, which would prevent future mining activities on these public lands. You can help protect these whitewater gems by contacting your Congressional Representatives today!  

Holtwood Whitewater Park to Open in 2015 (PA)

posted December 15, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

Congress Passes River Conservation Bills

posted December 13, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

Comment Opportunity on the Green River Gamelands Plan (NC)

posted December 12, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

Mining Co. Appeals Water Right Decision–NF Smith Watershed (CA/OR)

posted December 10, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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Red Flat Nickel Corp is continuing its push to mine near Baldface Creek in the headwaters of the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River. Last summer, the Oregon Water Resources Department denied Red Flat's application for a water right, and the company recently filed a petition for reconsideration in response. Read on for a press release with more information. American Whitewater will continue to work to protect the headwaters of the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith. Stay tuned for ways that you can help. 

AW's December Volunteer of the Month - Presented by Kokatat

posted December 2, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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American Whitewater is pleased to announce Daniel Patrinellis as our December 2014 Volunteer of the Month! For the past several years, Dan has been a passionate advocate for rivers in the Pacific Northwest. He understands that images and visually-compelling stories are important tools for advocacy, and supports our stewardship efforts with great videos and pictures. We're grateful for Dan's contributions, and in thanks he will receive a Kokatat WoolCore Shirt! 

National Park Service Proposes to Raise Entrance Fees Across the Country

posted December 2, 2014
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Support AW on Colorado Gives Day–December 9th!

posted November 25, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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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...