In an important victory for Ernie’s Gorge and rivers of the Pacific Northwest, we learned earlier today that Black Canyon Hydro LLC was withdrawing its application for the Black Canyon Hydropower Project, FERC P-14110). This project would have dewatered the North Fork Snoqualmie River severely impacting native rainbow and cutthroat trout, posed a risk to the City of Snoqualmie’s water supply, and irreversibly harmed a world-class kayak run.
As we do from time to time, we’re soliciting stories from you to help make our magazine the best it can be. So whether you’re a regular contributor or someone who’s never written about paddling before, now is the time to write and send us your stories.
We would like to recognize lifetime American Whitewater member, Keith Kishiyama, for organizing the ACA sponsored Rock Creek Slalom and Tobin Downriver Race for the 2016 Feather River Festival. Keith’s experience designing the annual Mokelumne River Slalom and organizing the annual Cherry Creek Race made him the perfect candidate to take over the paddling fun at this year’s Feather Fest.
We would like to thank Matt Anger, our volunteer of the month for helping set a new precedent this year at Gauley Fest, American Whitewater's biggest fundraiser of the year! Matt was essential in contributing to the early set up and challenging break down at the festival grounds.
Public Scoping Hearings have been scheduled this fall in Washington State, Oregon, Idaho and Montana to discuss the fate of Snake River Dams and their impact on salmon resources in the Snake River Watershed. We are encouraging the paddling community to engage in this public process which has implications for the overall health of the Snake River ecosystem and tributaries like the Lochsa, Selway, and Salmon River.
Snohomish County Public Works has published the long-awaited Environmental Assessment for repairs on the Index-Galena Road that historically provided access to the North Fork Skykomish River for whitewater boaters. Public input will be considered in agency decision making on whether repair of this important access road will move forward. The deadline for comments is October 31, 2016.
Ohiopyle Falls (PA) Festival Update - due to significant rain in the mid atlantic for the weekend of the Ohiopyle Falls Race, the Ohiopyle Fall Festival and Over the Falls Race is being postponed to Oct 15, 2016. We hope to see everyone there.
Feather Festival, Gauley Festival, and Gore Fest were all a stomping good time for the paddling community and supported the American Whitewater river stewardship program. Well it’s not over yet! Russell Fork Rendezvous takes place October 21 - 23 in Elkhorn City, KY.
Next month marks the 40th anniversary of the designation of Montana's four Wild and Scenic Rivers (3 Flathead Forks + the Missouri). We now have a once-in-a-generation chance to expand on that incredible legacy of river conservation in Montana. Take action to support new river protections on the Flathead National Forest this week!
Colorado, Sept. 2016 – After another lengthy round of meetings between American Whitewater and our conservation partners, and members of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), a monumental shift in Wild & Scenic River considerations has been won in the State. This week, the CWCB reversed its long-standing policy of opposing federal Wild & Scenic River protections and voted unanimously to support the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild and Scenic Suitability determination for key segments of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers, and important tributaries to the Gunnison River.
Earlier this year, Oregon Governor Kate Brown designated portions of the Molalla and Chetco Rivers as the state’s first new State Scenic Waterways since 1988. Now, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is developing rules that will apply to how the rivers are managed. The agency is seeking public comment on their proposed rules through 5 p.m. on Friday, September 30th. The whitewater paddling community highly values the Chetco and Molalla Rivers, and we encourage you to weigh in on this final step of the process!
The Oregon Water Resources Department recently proposed a new rule that will protect the instream uses of the Smith River and its tributaries. The rule is a critical step in proactively safeguarding the fish, wildlife, and recreation uses of the waters of the Smith River watershed in Oregon from ill-advised water development such as large-scale mining proposals. The agency is requesting public comment by 5 p.m. on October 28th, and we encourage you to weigh in!
American Whitewater "Ohiopyle Over the Falls Festival" will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Come on out and participate in the Falls Race, the Freestyle event, or just run laps on the falls!
American Whitewater and Vermont Paddlers Club today appealed the decision by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that limits whitewater boating opportunities on the Green River in Morristown. DEC issued a water quality certification for the Morrisville Hydroelectric Project that reduces opportunities for whitewater kayakers to paddle the Green River compared with natural conditions, and in addition, eliminates all opportunities for scheduled whitewater boating releases that are enjoyed by scores of paddlers from the northeast as well as boaters from Canada under current operations. The Green River is a highly valued whitewater river containing a series of challenging drops and falls as it descends from the Green River Reservoir to the Lamoille River.
It’s safe to say that Gore Fest 2016 was a huge success! The weekend was host to great flows, skilled paddlers, just the perfect amount of carnage, and an incredible volunteer squad that kept the river safe and the party wild. Over 400 people joined us at Rancho del Rio to enjoy what Gore Canyon and the Upper Colorado have to offer. A total of 153 kayakers, rafters, and SUP-boarders competed in races and freestyle events. Overall, we had 159 new and renewing members pledge to support American Whitewater and our stewardship efforts.
This month, American Whitewater recognizes Nannette Johnson as our September Volunteer of the Month. Nannette was instrumental to this years GoreFest, working closely with our Colorado Stewardship Team to put on an amazing weekend of paddling, partying and raising support and awareness for the protection of flows in the Upper Colorado River.
Arizona – Right now, legislation to construct a massive, amusement park-style development in the Grand Canyon has been introduced to the Navajo Nation Tribal Council. This massive development includes a tramway from the Grand Canyon Rim to the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers, a food pavilion, amphitheater and an elevated walkway at the confluence, and at the rim hotels, restaurants, and cultural center. As paddlers who’ve either experienced the Grand Canyon, or dream to one day, we’ve got to voice our opposition to this project NOW.
Earlier this summer West Virginia was hit hard with massive flooding. Both the Gauley River and Meadow River watersheds were flooded by heavy rains. The Gauley River set a flow record and Summersville Lake recorded the second highest lake level in its history. Downstream, nearly every boat launch and take-out was damaged to some degree. Despite the flooding, the put-ins and take-outs at the Tailwaters, Mason’s Branch, Wood’s Ferry, and upper Swiss will all be open for Gauley season. Read an open letter to Gauley boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area.
The California State Water Resources Control Board has ordered the decommissioning of the Centerville Powerhouse on Butte Creek to protect spring run salmon. This is part of a relicensing agreement that American Whitewater has been working on since 2003. As a result, Butte Creek, located in Northern California will be receiving more water.
The decades-old agreements between rafting outfitters and the Tennessee Valley Authority that provide for recreational water releases in the Upper and Middle Ocoee River will expire in 2018. TVA and the outfitters have been attempting to negotiate a new agreement for many months, and thus far no agreement has been reached. This week, American Whitewater and several regional affiliate clubs requested inclusion in those talks to represent our interests in the Ocoee River continuing to be a recreational treasure and economic boon to the region.
American Whitewater is proud to announce that the Blue River Watershed Group in Summit and Grand Counties, will receive a $1,250 grant to support their stewardship project on Colorado’s Blue River. The Group is building community and financial support for construction of the Blue River Whitewater Course, to be located in the town of Silverthorne, Colorado.
Colorado - Montrose County has acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in southwest Colorado and is currently engaged in a water storage feasibility study aimed at building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. The Colorado Water Conservation Board requested Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts. American Whitewater is currently working with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals will have on existing recreational opportunities.
Gauley Fest is just around the corner. . .have you reserved your Vendor space? Gauley Fest's Marketplace gets bigger and better every year. Take advantage of the 15% discount on Vendor booths through August 31st. Reserve your booth today and lock in your discounted price!
As summer winds down and as botable flows fade along with it, you may find yourself looking for one last hurrah. One more chance to gather with the tribe, paddle an exciting stretch of whitewater and dance into the wee hours of the night wih the reckless abandon only a gypsy boater can. Look no further! American Whitewater provides the flows and the party, with the three best paddling festivals of the summer right around the corner – Gore Festival (CO) August 26-28, Gauley River Festival (WV) September 15-18, and Feather River Festival (CA) September 23-25
Dolores, Colorado - This is the first year since 2011 that water managers on the Dolores River released boating flows from McPhee Dam and reservoir. For some, the recreational releases were something to celebrate. For others, they were confounding and underscored the frustration all boaters have felt since the Project came online 30 years ago.
The El Dorado County Transportation Division has issued a feasibility study proposing to remove access at the river once construction for a new Mosquito Road Bridge is started on the South Fork American River. Effectively, through the use of distance and no parking signs the county will end public access to a navigable river. They justify these actions by citing that El Dorado County never authorized public river access at Mosquito Road Bridge.
This summer the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo National Forests are seeking feedback from the public on their update and revisions to Forest Management Plans. These plans set the stage for how the forest will be managed for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, the agency's draft analysis on Wild and Scenic Rivers has largely neglected whitewater recreation values of classic whitewater rivers, including Dinkey Creek. Paddler's voices are important in this process! The deadline to comment is August 25th.
Colorado - American Whitewater is excited to host this year’s Gore Canyon Festival - building on the 30+ year legacy of the Gore Canyon downriver race, with a freestyle rodeo, SUP races and demos, and family floats this year. Register as a competitor, or volunteeer to help with logistics or safety today!
The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) recently took a step that sets the stage for increasing recreation flow days for the Class V Slab Creek reach on the South Fork American River in the future. The SWRCB has issued a 401 Certification for Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s new Slab Creek powerhouse and boating flow release valve.
American Whitewater is the only national non-profit organization exclusively focused on conserving and restoring whitewater rivers. Each day, we work to protect free flowing rivers, restore flows to rivers impacted by hydroelectric projects, secure access, and advocate for new Wild and Scenic rivers throughout the country. Your membership is a key part of what makes our efforts possible. Our 2015 Annual Report is available on-line now.
As we head towards Upper Yough Race Day (July 23rd) in Friendsville it's time to recognizesome people who make access to the river easier. Thanks to Jess Whittemore for visualizing the Friendsville Parking Lot and to Friendsville Town Council for following through and making it happen. Thanks to hundreds of paddlers who contributed money for the parking lot, who stay clear of residential areas on Water Street, and patronize local businesses. And a special thank you to Don Millard who mows the access areas in Friendsville and Sang Run to keep our access costs low. Don't YOU forget to put a few dollars in the donation box in Sang Run to pay for the portable toilet! Jeff Macklin Photo
American Whitewater is proud to announce the two affiliate club recipients of the 2016 Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign: Merrimack Valley Paddlers and The Blue River Watershed Group! Each group will receive a $1,250 grant to go towards their respective stewardship projects. Thanks to all the 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!
Paddlers have successfully helped to defend the public right to float rivers and streams in South Carolina. In a decision released late last week, a South Carolina court rejected an attempt to privatize a section of the South Fork of the Saluda River known as Blythe Shoals. The Court ruled that the entire river – rapids and all – is navigable and shall remain open to recreational paddling. This is great news for South Carolina river enthusiasts!
As our volunteers of the month, we wish to recognize Luke Spencer and Pete Giordano who spent countless hours in meetings and site visits to make new improved access to the Clackamas River a reality. In recognition of Luke's and Pete's efforts, they will each receive a custom Kokatat X-Jacket, thanks to Kokatat's support of AW's Volunteer of the Month award.Thank you Luke and Pete!
Denver, CO - American Whitewater is thrilled to announce our new Industry Partnership with Good River Beer. The partnership was born out of a shared love for river recreation and a shared vision for river conservation, and is made possible by Good River Beer’s unique business model. Good River Beer has committed to donating two percent of their revenue to river stewardship and conservation, and half of that will benefit American Whitewater’s Colorado River Stewardship Program.
You have to register your vehicle and trailer, so why not show your support for Colorado’s rivers with the Protect Our Rivers license plates! 100% of the money raised goes toward the conservation, protection and restoration of rivers and streams in Colorado. For every License Plate ordered with AW's Partner Code, a portion of your donation goes directly to support our stewardship efforts!
The Tuolumne River Trust's annual paddle-a-thon to protect the Tuolumne River and raise funds and awareness for river stewardship, the Paddle to the Sea, is now a new "bigger and better" event series called By Land & By River. This year there’s even more ways to explore the Tuolumne watershed including an upcoming event, whitewater rafting the world-class rapids of the American River on Saturday and Sunday July 16th and 17th.
American Whitewater is accepting photos for our 2017 Calendar now through August 1, 2016. Submitting photos through our online form is simple, and we can't wait to see your best shots. Thanks to all of our contributors!
The July/August issue of the AW Journal is available online now. This issue features the American Whitewater Annual Report. Our Annual Report focuses on 2015 financial performance and stewardship highlights.
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!
In the settlement negotiations that preceded the 2001 license order for the FERC Mokelumne River Project #137, American Whitewater was satisfied with the recreational flows required for the Electra to Middle Bar reach. However, over the past few years dependable boatable flows on the Mokelumne Electra run have all but disappeared.
Twice each year, we reach out to you to ask that you become a member or renew your membership to American Whitewater, or to consider making a tax-deductible donation. Please take a moment to see what your contribution will support next year in our 2016 Summer Appeal.
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.
Advocates for the Spokane River are asking Gov. Jay Inslee to grant their petition for protecting all instream values of the Spokane River, including recreational boating opportunities. This is the next step in the citizens’ quest to protect Spokane River flows. A petition was filed in February with the Washington Department of Ecology, and rejected by the agency in April.
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.
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.
Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell introduced the Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2016 to protect Washington’s Methow River from the impacts of industrial-scale mining. The bill supports the efforts of recreational interests, civic and business leaders, farmers and ranchers, and Methow residents to safeguard the lands and waters of the Methow Valley and protect them permanently from mining.
Boaters from throughout the northeast will come together on June 24-26 in Charlemont, MA to celebrate the Deerfield River. The event is AW's biggest fundraiser in the northeast. The Deerfeild Fest will be held at the Charlemont Fairgrounds on June 25th from 3-11 pm and will include live music, vendors, beer, and a silent auction. This year, AW is joining forces with Zoar Outdoor to create a Deerfield Festival Weekend that will include Zoar's Demofest with free clinics and boat demos throughout the weekend from professional instructors and industry representatives.
American Whitewater is actively monitoring a water storage project that the El Dorado Irrigation District is proposing on Alder Creek that will deeply impact the South and Silver Forks of the American River. Classic whitewater sections on these two forks would be affected including, on the SF American, Lovers Leap, Kyburz, Riverton & Golden Gate, and on the Silver Fork, the Dugald Bremner Run, Middle and Lower Runs.
THIS WEEK ONLY! American Whitewater is thrilled to announce that we have partnered with FLOAT to bring you limited edition river stewardship T shirts available this week only!
Gauley Fest. . .bigger and better every year!
Gauley Fest is a showcase for American Whitewater and the top whitewater vendors in the boating community.
Vendor registration is now open and we encourage you to reserve your space now! Registration for Basic and Non-Profit booth space purchases are available online via our Gauley Fest Vendor Registration Form.
Take advantage of the 15% discount on Vendor booths through August 31st. Reserve your booth today and lock in your discounted price!
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!
Green River, Utah – We are celebrating the Green River Dam rehabilitation project, which replaced the lowhead dam upstream of the Town of Green River, and created three new fish passages and a boat chute. Join AW, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other partners on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. The Event will take place at the project site via Hastings Road at 11:00 am, and bring your boats!
American Whitewater announces the 2016 Gore Canyon Race and Festival August 26th-28th. This years Festival will be held at Rancho del Rio, 10 miles downstream of the BLM's Pumphouse Recreation Site. In addition to the famous Gore Canyon Race, the festival also includes a family fun float through Little Gore Canyon, a freestyle rodeo, SUP downriver and cross races, and movies, live music, food and drinks, and all things fun! Be sure to mark your calendars!
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.
American Whitewater and Clif Bar are pleased to announce the Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign, pledging $2,500 to American Whitewater Affiliate Clubs for river stewardship work. Grants will be distributed to clubs for projects that promote river stewardship, conservation, access and/or safety on rivers in the United States.
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...
Good news Middle Fork Feather boaters! The Plumas National Forest has announced that it has reopened Milsap Bar Road to high clearance vehicles past the slide area.
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 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.
American Whitewater is committed to providing the paddling community and our members with the highest quality service and the best representation for river stewardship. In line with our commitment to continuous improvement, we are conducting an on-line survey that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Help us serve you better by sharing your feedback.
Newspapers are reporting that several landowners filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia earlier this week, seeking to claim ownership of the riverbed of Johns Creek. Litigation that in any way diminishes paddling rights could threaten Virginian’s cherished connection to their outdoors and public waters. American Whitewater will review the lawsuit filings when they become available.
This month, American Whitewater recognizes Lauren Nance as our Volunteer of the Month. Lauren has been working closely with our Colorado Stewardship Team to protect the interest of paddlers in the Upper Colorado River. In recognition of Lauren’s efforts, she will receive a custom Kokatat X-Jacket, thanks to Kokatat's support of AW's Volunteer of the Month award. Thank You Lauren!
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.
Colorado - After a warm February in Colorado, the forcast for boating flows on the Lower Dolores River takes a turn. While February forecasts suggested a 50/50 chance of a good spill from McPhee Reservoir, the latest data from forecast centers suggests that conditions currently range from a smaller spill, to nothing.
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:
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.
On Friday, March 25, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed our bridge access bill (Substitute Senate Bill 6363) into law. The bill requires that the Department of Transportation evaluate public access for state highway projects that include building or re-constructing a bridge across a navigable waterway.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), American Whitewater and other consultation group members including Jim Eicher, BLM Mother Lode Associate Field Manager, have scheduled the required 2016 recreational flows for South Fork Silver Creek below Ice House Reservoir and the South Fork American River below Slab Creek Dam.
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.
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.
Access to Colorado's Eagle River for boaters, anglers, and river enthusiasts will be improved by the Town of Eagles new River Corridor Plan, an ambitious project that aims to strengthen the town’s connection to its river. Stay tuned for opportunities to support the Towns efforts and bring another Colorado river back to life!
National Paddling Film Festival could not happen without a team of committed volunteers who give freely of their time and effort in support of river stewardship. This March, we recognize John Mello, NPPF Event Director, as our AW Volunteer of the Month.
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.
Vermont has issued draft conditions for the relicensing of the hydropower project on the Green River that would drastically limit naturally occurring boatable flows and eliminates all opportunities for scheduled whitewater boating releases for the next 40-50 years. There is a public hearing at 7 pm on February 16th in Morrisville. This will be an opportunity for you to be heard, for the boaters to be heard. We (the North East boating community) need you to take action via written comments. AW and the Vermont Paddlers Club have filed comments in support of whitewater boating on the Green River. Boaters are encouraged to submit comments to Vermont before the February 19th deadline.
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.
We are sad to report the passing of Wolf Bauer one of American Whitewater’s original founders. Born in 1912 in the Bavarian Alps, Wolf came to Seattle at the age of 13. In 1948 Wolf established the Washington Foldboat Club (today Washington Kayak Club) and in 1954 he was among the founders of American Whitewater. Wolf had a huge impact on whitewater instruction and river conservation, a legacy that extends over a century.
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.
In June 2016, American Whitewater members will have an opportunity to join American Whitewater staff and board members for an exclusive trip on Oregon’s Rogue River. We invite you to come learn more about what we're up to while having a great time enjoying one of our nation’s first Wild and Scenic Rivers.
American Whitewater initiated legal action this past week on a hydropower project that is not in compliance with environmental laws protecting river values. While hydropower provides an important source of energy for the Pacific Northwest region, owners of these facilities have a responsibility to operate them in compliance with the laws and regulations that all hydropower operators must adhere to.
Come see American Whitewater and the year's best photos and videos at the National Paddling Film Festival (NPFF)! This year's NPFF will be held on February 19-20 in Frankfort, KY at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
For the March 2016 issue of the American Whitewater Journal, we'll be highlighting the perils and promise of river access. Our Colorado Stewardship Program wants to hear your stories! Help us fix River Access!
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.