In late 2012, PG&E directly challenged the authority of California’s water quality agency–the State Water Resources Control Board–to protect the beneficial uses of rivers impacted by hydropower projects. On Tuesday, May 7, American Whitewater and our partners testified at a hearing before the SWRCB, standing up for the agency’s authority to protect the public interest and respond to changing conditions in the future.
The long awaited first releases on the Missisquoi River in Sheldon Springs, Vermont, were cancelled due to a lack of rain in the northeast. The releases were scheduled for the first 6 weekend days in May, but we were forced to cancel the first three weekends while we wait for the rivers to rise. So put on your booties and do your best rain dance so we can enjoy this big water Class IV run in the bypass reach of the Sheldon Springs Dam.
This May and June join Paddle to the Sea – the Tuolumne River Trust’s popular paddle-a-thon where hundreds of river lovers and boating enthusiasts raft, canoe and kayak from the Sierra to San Francisco Bay. There is adventurous whitewater and mellow flat-water; fun one-day trips, or going the distance. Boaters of all skills and ages are encouraged to join.
Last week a federal judge ruled in favor of the US Forest Service in the case regarding the management of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River. The decision upholds the current USFS policy of allowing paddling December through April, above 350cfs, on 15 miles of the 21-mile-long upper Chattooga. While the legal decision is a disappointment, this new management plan is clearly a victory for the paddling community, and is the direct result of over 15 years of advocacy that included an active legal strategy.
May 4th (CheatFest Weekend) is the first scheduled Saturday release on Maryland’s Upper Yough! If water levels cooperate this will be a busy day on the river. For Friendsville, MD (population 491) the influx of hundreds of whitewater paddlers can cause problems. Minimize your impact on the town by driving safely, being discrete while changing clothes, and by being careful when carrying boats along busy Maple Avenue. Remember that there is no parking along Water Street or Morris Avenue (the two riverside streets) unless you are patronizing local businesses. Those invited by local residents to take out on their property should park completely off the street. American Whitewater takes care of the put-in at Sang Run; our suggested donation, $2 per visit or $20 for the season, remains unchanged. For an update on the planned boater parking lot, click the link below.
To date, Yosemite National Park has conducted an extensive amount of public outreach on the Draft Merced Wild and Scenic River Plan. Today the Park announced that they are extending the deadline for the public to submit comments to Tuesday, April 30th. American Whitewater submitted comments today, and you can read them here!
Scheduled releases occur the first two weekends in April and the first three weekends in November. Check out this article for the most up to date information on how to enjoy the river.
On Thursday, April 4th, the Department of Interior recommended removing four dams on the Klamath River, listing the action as the Preferred Alternative for a long-term solution to address native fishery and water resource issues in the Klamath Basin. The recommendation was set forth in the Department's Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which provides a comprehensive review of whether partially or fulling removing four dams owned and operated by PacifCorp will help to restore salmon runs to the Klamath River.
Thanks to everyone who submitted comments for the Tuolumne River Plan last month! Now is your chance to weigh in on how the Wild and Scenic Merced River in Yosemite National Park will be managed in the future–comments are due April 18th. With your help, we can advocate more effectively for opening this stunning and amazing river to the public!
On Thursday, March 28th, the Nevada Assembly Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on AB 396, which is a bill that will ensure access for recreation on Nevada's lakes and streams. Strong access laws are especially important if you enjoy spending time on rivers, and paddler's voices are important in this process for Nevada. You can participate a number of ways…
Yesterday, Federal approval was granted for the removal of Millpond Dam on Northeast Washington’s Sullivan Creek. Millpond Dam has blocked Sullivan Creek since 1909, and removal should be completed within the next 5 years. In addition, streamflows will be improved for paddlers and fish from nearby Sullivan Lake Dam. American Whitewater has played an active role in the collaborative effort leading to this dam removal and other improvements since it began in 2008.
Efforts to roll back the boundary of California's Wild and Scenic Merced River are picking up again. H.R. 934 was recently introduced in the House, and if passed it would open the door for Merced Irrigation District to increase the height of the spillway at New Exchequer Dam by 10 feet and expand McClure Reservoir. Not only would this drown a segment of an outstanding river, but it would be the first time in the 45 year history of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that a designated reach would be shortened in the name of development.
Tallulah releases for spring 2013 are going to be held on April 6, 7 and 13, 14. Releases begin at 9:30 am and all boaters must start down the stairs by 3:00 pm to beat the flow down to the lake. Releases on Saturday are 500 cfs and Sunday releases are 700 cfs.
In a bipartisan effort last month, the Senate introduced the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2013 (S.338). The Land and Water Conservation Fund has supported many projects that provide access and protect important rivers, including the White Salmon (WA), New and Gauley (WV), Illinois (OR) and Snake (ID). If passed, the bill will reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and support similar projects into the future.
In response to calls by American Whitewater, New England FLOW and the Appalachian Mountain Club, FERC today ordered FirstLight and TransCanada to study the potential for whitewater boating on the Connecticut River at Turner's Falls and Bellows Falls. The companies are seeking to relicense their projects at the Wilder, Bellows Falls, and Vernon dams in New Hampshire and Vermont, and at the Northfield Pumping Station and Turner’s Falls Dam in Massachusetts.
The U.S. Army Corps Engineers' Philadelphia District will host a meeting to announce the 2013 Francis E. Walter Dam recreation program on March 7 in White Haven, PA. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Mountain Laurel Resort off of Pennsylvania Route 940. The Water goes through the Class II-III Lehigh River Gorge, one of the most popular intermediate runsin the Mid-States. Paddlers in the area should support these releases by attending the meeting.For more information, visit the USACE Philadelphia District web site or the Francis E. Walter Dam Facebook page.
American Whitewater and the Vermont Paddlers Club today filed comments with FERC calling on Morrisville Power & Light (MWL) to schedule releases on the Green River in Vermont. In their comments filed today with FERC, AW & VPC called on the MWL to provide five weekend 2-day releases from the dam in order to provide additional paddling opportunities.
Federal regulators have recently approved study plans for the proposed Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project that would impact Ernie's Gorge on the North Fork Snoqualmie River. As an initial step in the study process, all paddlers who run this reach in 2013 should report their runs and fill out the survey.
Earlier today, Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) re-introduced a set of wilderness bill including the Oregon Treasures Act, legislation that would protect the Chetco River, Molalla River, Rogue River, and Horse Heaven and Cathedral Rock sections along the John Day River.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the 2013 schedule of releases for the typically de-watered West Fork of the Tuckasegee River, located near Glenville, North Carolina. These releases are the direct result of negotiations between American Whitewater, our affiliate clubs, Duke Energy and other regional stakeholders.
American Whitewater is reaching out to our membership to encourage participation in a study of boating conditions and recreation safety conducted by consultants working with the Yakama Nation Fisheries program. The study reaches include Nason Creek, Twisp River, and Chewuch River. The overall purpose of the study is to identify known and anticipated river users and evaluate riverine hazards as habitat restoration projects are planned and implemented.
Yosemite National Park is currently seeking the public's input on how the Wild and Scenic Merced and Tuolumne Rivers will be managed in the future, including the question of whether to open them up to paddling. While we're pleased to see the park is considering lifing the ban in some areas, the preferred alternative for both rivers keeps the long-standing prohibition on paddling in place for the Tuolumne and on sections of the Merced. With your help, we can advocate more effectively for opening these stunning and amazing rivers to the public!
Yesterday a landmark stream recreation bill for the commonwealth of Virginia was reported out of subcommittee and will now go to the full Senate for a vote. The vote could come as early as next week, and supportive paddlers are encouraged to call their Senators as soon as possible. This is the closest the public has come to gaining clarity on our rights to float down Virginia's rivers in a very long time.
American Whitewater, along with New England FLOW and the Appalacian Mountain Club, filed comments and provided testimony this week at FERC scoping meetings held in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to discuss the five dam relicensing proposals filed by TransCanada and FirstLight for hydroelectric projects on the Connecticut River.
The Bureau of Reclamation seeks to raise the height of the dam by 18.5 feet, further inundating the McCloud and Upper Sacramento Rivers at great cost to California taxpayers. American Whitewater submitted comments today opposing the proposal because of the negative impacts to recreation and riparian habitat. Comments are being accepted through Monday, January 28th, and we encourage you to weigh in!
Western Maryland is home to the Marcellus Shale formation, now infamous for burgeoning natural gas production accomplished by a controversial technique known as hydaulic fracturing or "fracking." Currently no permits for fracking have been issued in Maryland, and state legislators will soon be introducing an official legislative moratorium that will restrict permit issuance of permits until up to 14 studies are funded and completed.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA8) have reintroduced their Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (H.R. 361/S. 112) along with cosponsors Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA1). This legislation will help ensure the future of some of Washington’s most popular backcountry recreation areas by designating more than 22,000 acres of wilderness adjacent to the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and protecting nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
American Whitewater has filed comments opposing the further diversion of water from the Farmington river in Connecticut by the Metropolitan District Commission. The Commission is proposing to divert up to 5 million gpd in order to supply the water needs of the University of Connecticut. The proposed diversion would reduce river flows and potentially affect paddling opportunities at Tarrifville, a valuable whitewater resource.
On January 15th, American Whitewater submitted comments in support of clean-up activities at two inactive mines near Battle Axe and Opal Creeks in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. The mines operated until the late 1980's, and are located 2 miles east of Jaw Bone Flats in the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area. Waste rock and soil from the mines has the potential to contaminate nearby rivers and streams through leaching and mass wasting events. American Whitewater provided comment to support clean up activities so long as they are protective of all uses, including whitewater boating.
The Wall Street Journal published a story today outlining the debate over the possible de-designation of the Wild and Scenic Merced River. We believe that this type of coverage will help highlight the threat to the Merced and Wild and Scenic rivers everywhere.
The Bureau of Land Management manages more than 2.5 million acres in western Oregon. Currently the BLM is updating their management plan for these lands and the associated rivers. As part of this process they are evaluating rivers for their eligibility as wild and scenic rivers. We are encouraging the paddling community to participate in this process by participating in a public survey that is currently underway. The survey affords paddlers an opportunity to identify and express the recreation and other values the rivers under analysis have.
The lack of clarity regarding the rights of residents and visitors to paddle Virginia's certain rivers and streams has long been an unnecessary source of conflict. Virginians are now ready to change that by clarifying that in Virginia people have the widely supported right to float down rivers. Thanks to this grassroots effort, a new stream access bill has recently been introduced in the state legislature that needs your support.
On December 19th I represented American Whitewater at the annual meeting of their Whitewater Advisory Committee for Summersville Dam . The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the project, has worked closely with whitewater interests for many years. Their management plan takes into account both lake and downstream recreation (and their associated businesses) as well as lake and downstream fisheries, power generation, flow augmentation, and other matters. This year's realeases were very successful, and we're looking for another great season in 2013. For information on river gauge changes, fisheries management, and other matters please click the link below:
AW is pleased to announce that Bob Nasdor has accepted our offer to become American Whitewater’s Northeast Stewardship Director. Bob is based out of Massachusetts and has been an avid paddler of the rivers of the Northeast for the past 10 years. Bob brings a wealth of experience to the position from his 20-year career as a public interest attorney.
On December 6th, American Whitewater filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Black Canyon Hydro's proposed hydroelectric project on Washington's North Fork Snoqualmie River. FERC is currently in the process of considering study requests required for the project.
Polluted stormwater runoff is one of the key causes of degraded water quality on rivers throughout the country, and this fall, American Whitewater joined with other conservation and recreation groups to defend the Clean Water Act in the Supreme Court. We filed a "Friend of the Court" brief in support of NRDC and Santa Monica Baykeeper's efforts to ensure that municipalities clean up polluted stormwater. The case focuses on the L.A. and San Gabriel Rivers, and has implications for rivers that flow through towns and cities across the country.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently announced the commencement of relicensing proceedings for the Tomahawk and Grandfather Falls Hydroelectric Projects in Wisconsin. We are pleased to report that FERC has identified whitewater recreation as one of the issues requiring study and analysis and has proposed a whitewater flow study. Paddlers have the opportunity to attend next week's public meeting and file written comments.
Yesterday a hearing was held in US District Court in South Carolina regarding the Forest Service's illegal bans and severe limits on paddling 21 miles of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River. The Judge ruled in favor of conservation-oriented paddlers and charted a schedule to resolve the case early next year.
Charity Navigator has recognized our diligence in adhering to strict financial accountability for the third straight year (something that only happens to the top 9% of non profits they rate). It is an honor to receive this top rating three years in a row for our philanthropic efforts in river conservation. At American Whitewater, we strive to maintain the high standards set forth by Charity Navigator and work hard to earn the trust and respect of our members.
American Whitewater helped launch a new website today to celebrate Montana's rivers. The blog-style site asks people to share a special story that took place on a Montana river. AW hopes paddlers enjoy the great photos and stories, and take a few minutes to share some of their own. You might just win some great stuff too...
The first season of legal paddling on portions of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River since 1976 is nearly upon us. The Forest Service will begin allowing paddling on December 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013, under various restrictions. This article will help you jump through all the hoops and enjoy the river!
On Friday, American Whitewater formally requested several studies as part of the relicensing of the Hawks Nest Dam, which significantly de-waters the New River Dries in West Virginia. In addition to our study requests, we offered evidence of the hydropower project's significant effects on whitewater recreation.
Earlier this week, Free Flow Power willingly surrendered permits that had granted them exporation and development rights associated with two proposed new dams on New York's Black River. These dams, if built, would have inundated 4.8 miles of the Black River that is currently free flowing. The surrender of these permits is good news for the Black River.
More than two decades after we first investigated the recreational potential of a restored White Salmon River, and a year after a blast of dynamite punched a hole in the base of Condit Dam, the river is now navigable from the headwaters all the way down to the Columbia River! The White Salmon Narrows is a technically challenging new stretch of whitewater that is officially open to paddlers with the skill set to enjoy it safely. Paddlers running this section of river should be solid Class IV boaters who are comfortable running unfamiliar sections of river.
American Whitewater is asking all paddlers and river lovers to take 5 minutes and read our 2012 Winter Appeal (pdf). In it, we layout the hard work we’ve done on behalf of river lovers everywhere, members or not.
Fall Tallulah releases are right around the corner. These releases occur the first two weekends in April and the first three weekends in November. There are a couple of important changes for this year so please review this information if you are planning a Tallulah trip.
On Thursday, October 4th, American Whitewater testified before California's State Water Resources Control Board in support of more stringent water quality protections at the City of Mt. Shasta's wastewater treatment plant, located on the Box Canyon run of the Sacramento River. The Board accepted recommendations from AW and the boating community that these protections be implemented year-round. The final permit is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
American Whitewater is initiating an open hiring process for a half-time regional stewardship position. The Northeast Stewardship Director will represent American Whitewater in strategically selected regional river conservation and access issues. Qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.
The National Park Service (NPS) has released for public comment a Study Report of Wild and Scenic River designation of Connecticut's lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook. Your comments filed before the October 17 deadline will help secure lasting protection for these rivers.
American Whitewater has a long running partnership with the Conservation Alliance and KEEN Footwear. A new video highlighting these partnerships and the stewardship efforts they support has just been released.
A memorial service was held on September 29 to celebrate the life of Alan Panebacker. AW Executive Director, Mark Singleton delivered the following comments at the memorial.
Vermont Paddlers Club have stepped up to help out with a low key, paddler driven river clean-up on the West River this weekend. Bring your own bags and gloves if possible, and dispose of all trash in the State Park dumpsters after your run or at your convenience.
Alan Panebaker, American Whitewater Northeast Stewardship Director, of Montpelier, Vt., passed away on Sept. 19, 2012, while paddling the Pemigewasset River (NH). A celebration of Alan’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Eagle Park on Lincoln Road in Bristol, VT. A reception will follow the gathering.
Whitewater boating releases on Northern California's Pit River between Fall River Mills and Highway 299 will take place on October 6-7 and 20-21. The Pit has something to offer everyone, with a range of Class II to Class IV water, and stunning scenery, waterfalls and geology.
The Upper Nantahala River and Cascades releases mandated from FERC Relicensing of the Nantahala River will begin September 29-30, 2012. Endless Rivers Adventures and the Nantahala Outdoor Center will provide free shuttles to boat launch areas on the bypass sections. All paddlers and spectators are asked to use these shuttles as key access points will be closed to parking to provide for put-in and take-out locations on the river sections.
The 21st annual Feather River Fest is happening this weekend - September 21-23. Complete with a movie night Friday, races and benefit party on Saturday, and more time to enjoy the river Sunday, this is an event you'll want to be sure to attend!
Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar ensured the long-term protection of Thunder Creek, a tributary of the Skagit River, by administratively designating the river corridor as wilderness. Once threatened by hydropower, this spectacular whitewater resource is now protected as a free-flowing river.
Removal of Condit Dam is nearing completion and we are getting ready to celebrate the moment on Saturday September 29th. Contractors still have equipment in and along the river that will be removed over the next couple weeks and a log jam resulting from the dam breach still needs to be addressed. It's important for paddlers to wait until this work is done and everyone considering this reach needs to understand the hazards associated with the class IV/V entrance drop into the Narrows.
We Love Clean Rivers, in partnership with Clackamas River Basin Council, hosts the 10th Annual Down the River Clean Up on the Clackamas! Sign up today and meet Sunday September 9th, 9am at Barton County Park.
This year the Connecticut River Watershed Council's Source to Sea Cleanup coincides with the September 29 West River release in Vermont.
American Whitewater is trying to organize a handful of volunteers to pick up any trash on the West.
“Don’t call this a festival,” New York legend whitewater legend Chris Koll said of the original Beaver River Rendezvous in 1998.
The three-day event has stayed true to that mantra, despite the popular “Beaverfest” dubbing, the event lacks any sort of commercial qualities. Just great whitewater.
For decades, West Canada Creek from Middleville to Herkimer, N.Y., proved a reliable beginner/intermediate run with consistent water released from Hinckley Reservoir upstream. After a number of high water events a play spot formed near the end of the run above Kast Bridge.
A decision made earlier this month by the Washington Office of the US Forest Service officially ends the agency’s consideration of recreational management on the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. The decision marks the final Agency green light allowing the public to paddle a 15-mile portion of the Upper Chattooga River this winter for the first time in 36 years!
The public review and comment period for the draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Public Access Plan has been extended until September 14, 2012. The plan was developed in response to an Executive Order signed by President Obama, and aims to increase public access to the Bay and tributaries by adding 300 new public access sites by 2025.
American Whitewater is working with local outfitters to ensure a utility does not shut off access to one of the Northeast's most popular beginner/intermediate rivers.
Due to the ongoing Chips Fire in California's Feather River Watershed, the August 25th and 26th whitewater release on the Feather River has been cancelled. Heavy smoke is blanketing the area, and PG&E has shut down most of the hydroelectric system on the North Fork. The Feather River Fest, scheduled for September, is still on schedlue. The August release has been rescheduled for the 27th and 28th of October.
The rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area have provided the boating community with a letter outlining what's in store for this year's Gauley season. As in previous years and to help with boater parking at Mason’s Branch, American Whitewater has leased the Legg field for additional space.
On Thursday, August 9th, American Whitewater and Friends of the River notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and PG&E of their intent to sue for violations of the Endangered Species Act at the Pit 1 and Hat Creek Hydroelectric Projects in California. The projects have numerous impacts on the endangered Shasta crayfish and have been in violation of the Endangered Species Act since 2005.
American Whitewater and the Kayak and Canoe Club of New York filed a motion to intervene in a proceeding with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 24 to protect our interests as a utility tries to increase its power output on a dam on the Mongaup River in New York.
A decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to abandon efforts to restore Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River basin could change the game for whitewater releases on the West River in Vermont.
This summer, American Whitewater has joined a campaign to raise funds to protect Mt. Hood's Punch Bowl Falls in Oregon. We're asking the paddling community to step up in support of this project!
Under utilized provisions of the California Streets and Highway Code require that an Access Feasibility Study be conducted when a new bridge is built, and American Whitewater wants to make sure they are completed. Today, American Whitewater requested a public hearing regarding the Access Feasibility Study that was done for the SR 99 Bridge over the Feather River conducted by Caltrans. This is a good opportunity for California residents to get involved and improve river access - not just on the Feather, but on any new bridge project in your area!
The Trust for Public Land last week announced the purchase of a critical 80-acre private property in the heart of the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, Idaho. This land will be added to the Frank Church and made available for all to enjoy as unspoiled wilderness, and will help protect the incomparable Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
American Whitewater takes a look back at the previous year and distills the organization's projects, supporters and financial information - plus much more - into one document, our Annual Report.
Culminating a six-year effort, American Whitewater has reached significant flow agreements for the Yuba watershed. These agreements were memorialized in the amended license applications filed with FERC by the Nevada Irrigation District and Pacific Gas & Electric Company. We look forward to seeing you enjoying improved flows in the Yuba watershed!
The Wild Olympics Campaign, of which American Whitewater is a member, today cheered the introduction of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Congressman Norm Dicks and Senator Patty Murray to permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries (a total of 464 river miles) as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Congressional efforts to turn part of the Wild and Scenic Merced River into a reservoir are heating up, and American Whitewater needs your continued help in standing up for the Merced and all Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Merced bill is packaged with other bills that are bad for public lands, and will go to the House floor next week.
Earlier this month, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack named the members of an advisory committee charged with providing guidance and recommendations on the implementation of the new U.S. Forest Service Planning Rule. Among the appointed members is Adam Cramer, Outdoor Alliance Policy Architect and American Whitewater Board Member. Adam will represent dispersed recreationists on this important committee.
Invasive aquatic alga known as didymo, or “rock snot,” has been found in the Youghiogheny River (PA). The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is reminding anglers and boaters that cleaning their gear is the easiest, most effective means of preventing its spread to other rivers.
The Mayor and Town Council of Friendsville, Maryland recently sent AW an open letter of thanks in response to an outpouring of donations and support for their development of a new public take-out for the Upper Youghiogheny River in their Town. AW helped collect donations from the paddling community, and we are pleased to pass this thank-you on to the many paddlers that contributed to this cause - your donations were greatly appreciated!
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the hiring of Alan Panebaker as our new Northeast Stewardship Director. In this position Alan will oversee American Whitewater’s regional stewardship projects including playing various roles in dam releases, state and federal policy affecting rivers, public land management, and community recreation planning.
In the midst of the controversial paddling ban and capacity consideration on the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River, the Forest Service is proposing to jointly develop a “farmstead” on the banks of the disputed section of river with a private non-profit partner organization. This proposed new use of the Wild and Scenic River Corridor, in a reach heavily stocked with non-native trout and deemed to have zero capacity to support floating, is raising eyebrows and drawing comments from many Chattooga River stakeholders.
The first ever scheduled recreational releases on the upper Nantahala River will occur on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30, 2012, near Wesser, North Carolina. The releases were negotiated by AW and a diverse group of local and regional stakeholders between 2001 and 2003 to mitigate the recreational impacts of flow reductions associated with operation of the powerhouse.
Last year federal regulators issued a preliminary permit allowing a developer to investigate the hydropower potential of Ernies Gorge. The developer has since decided to move forward and initiate the process of applying for a license. As the first step in this process, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has called a public meeting (Tue June 19th) to solicit local input and identify study needs. We encourage paddlers to attend the meetings to make sure FERC staff and the applicant understand the value of this reach for whitewater recreation.
New York State Electric and Gas opened their gate to the Ausable River on May 25, 2012, and will continue to provide access through October 31, 2012. Public access to this natural wonder is the direct result of a decade advocacy by American Whitewater and Adirondack Mountain Club.
Only twice each year, American Whitewater appeals for financial support for our river stewardship work. To this end, we've put together the 2012 American Whitewater Summer Appeal (pdf). It details just how our supporter's money is spent and features a national listing of some of the major projects we're currently involved with. We sincerely hope you'll take the time to peruse this document and consider donating or joining/renewing with American Whitewater.
Wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, wild and scenic rivers, and other treasured public lands have become the focus of a small number of elected officials whose intention is to roll back protections, limit access to outdoor enthusiasts, and to promote extractive activities over the existing recreation-based economy. These efforts, illustrated by legislative proposals below paint a rather grim and shortsighted picture of the future of public lands. To prevent these bad ideas from gaining traction, it is important for paddlers to reach out to their legislators and remind them of the value of protected public lands.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce Steve Powers as our June Volunteer of the Month! Steve has been helping AW staff and our pro-bono legal team investigate the history of key riparian land parcels in Virginia. In recognition of his efforts, Steve will be receiving a custom Kokatat OuterCore shirt. Thanks Steve!
Jackson County Parks and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are leading a planning effort to develop a recreation management plan for a thirteen mile stretch of the Rogue River that includes the former sites of the Gold Ray and Gold Hill Dams. The goal of the planning project is to identify appropriate public access points along the Rogue River following dam removal and develop a strategy to proactively manage changing and increasing recreational use patterns, while maintaining the integrity of the natural resources in the area and minimizing potential conflicts.
2012 marks the first year of scheduled releases on Pennsylvania's Class III+ Stonycreek River. The releases, in concert with a new whitewater park, and significant water quality and ecological recovery efforts welcome paddlers to enjoy a great recreational opportunity on the extremely fun Stonycreek River this year and for years to come.
American Whitewater and KEEN are profiled as an example of an outstanding partnership by the Conservation Alliance. The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor industry companies that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations. They direct funding to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat, preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate.
The Upper Youghiogheny River has some of the East's finest expert-level summer whitewater. Memorial Day Weekend is the first of many busy release weekends which create crowded conditions on and off the river. For the past four decades the paddling community has done a good job managing themselves. Here are some things you can do to help your trip run more smoothly.
The Wild and Scenic Merced River is still under threat by HR 2578. The House will vote very soon on the bill, which proposes to allow Merced Irrigation District to drown a portion of the Wild and Scenic Merced River - pictured here. Whether you live in California or somewhere else, please call Senator Dianne Feinstein today and ask her to protect the Wild and Scenic Merced River! And when you're done, call your Congressional representatives and express your concern that what's happening on the Merced could be detrimental to Wild and Scenic rivers throughout the country, including the ones you love in your home state or region.
Today, American Rivers released the annual report on America's Most Endangered Rivers. American Whitewater has partnered with American Rivers in past years in identifying threatened rivers, and this year we are working together to highlight threats to the Skykomish River in Washington and the Green River in Utah.
The Town of Friendsville thanks all the paddlers who donated to the Boater Parking Lot Project. Click through the link for the latest construction update from Town Council just sent by Councilman Jess Whittemore. There's also information about some unscheduled releases next week resulting from dam repairs.
The Bureau of Land Management is considering the potential for oil shale and tar sands development on 2,431,000 acres of public land in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. This development could threaten the quality of paddling experiences including the multi-day desert floats on Desolation and Grays Canyons of the Green as well as the adventure available for kayaks and packrafts to explore the San Rafael, Muddy and Escalante. American Whitewater partnered with our colleagues in the Outdoor Alliance to highlight the value of these areas for outdoor recreation.
PacifiCorp has opened the new take-out facility at Northwestern Park. Construction was completed late last month and for the first time since Condit Dam was breached in October 2011, a public access is once again available downstream of Husum Falls.
Mark Singleton, American Whitewater Executive Director, recently forwarded a check to the Town of Friendsville, MD for just over $3000, the amount raised on the AW Web Site this past month. The town, which is the takeout for the Upper Youghiogheny River, is working to convert donated land into a long-term solution to a troublesome parking problem. Donations now total over $22,000 plus pro-bono services of paddling engineer Brian Jacobson valued at over $15K. Design work has already begun and we expect the parking area to be opened some time in July. Since the total estimated cost of the parking lot is $100,000, additional donations still matter. If you've already given thank you! If not, there's still time! We plan to close the Upper Yough fundraising campaign on May 1. See the fundraising page for complete info.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce that we are initiating an open hiring process for a new regional stewardship position. The Northeast Stewardship Director will represent American Whitewater in strategically selected regional river conservation and access issues. Qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.
In 2012 AW volunteers will once again maintain the Sang Run river access on Maryland's Upper Yough. Our decade-long agreement with Maryland State Parks uses volunteer labor to keep your paddling costs down. An early spring required us to cut the grass several weeks before its usual time. Local kayaking legend John Regan used his tractor to grade and spread 36 tons of fresh gravel over the heavily used parking lot. He does a great job, and his work saves AW considerable money. Please continue to support us by putting money in the fee box. The suggested amounts - $2 per visit or $20 per year - have not changed since 2002. Every penny you contribute goes to maintain this access.