The Bureau of Land Management is currently accepting public comment on a proposal to protect the Methow Headwaters from an industrial-scale copper mine above the town of Mazama. The proposed mine would negatively impact the incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Methow Valley. A strong show of public support will be required to secure protection for this river valley.
We have a once in a generation opportunity to restore one of the greatest river systems of the
world–the Columbia and the Snake–by removing four outdated and expensive dams on
the lower Snake River. Federal agencies are accepting public comment on the future of the
Columbia and Snake River dams through February 7th, 2017, and your voices are important to this
process! Unlocking the lower Snake River is not only the single most effective thing that we can
do to restore wild salmon runs, but it will also restore whitewater opportunities on the mainstem
Snake and enhance them in key upper tributaries.
On January 12, 2017, the BLM and Forest Service announced a 20-year halt to new mining activities in the watersheds of the North Fork Smith, Illinois, Pistol River and Hunter Creek in Oregon. American Whitewater celebrates this important milestone with the conservation and recreation partners that we've worked with, and thanks Representatives DeFazio and Huffman and Senators Wyden and Merkley for their dedication to protecting this place. And we thank YOU too for standing up for these wild rivers!
This past week Washington Governor Jay Inslee released his state budget, including a $100 million commitment to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. As a kayaker and outdoor enthusiast himself, the Governor recognizes that investment in outdoor recreation is good for the state economy, promotes a healthy active lifestyle, and is a defining character of the quality of life we enjoy in Washington State. Earlier this year American Whitewater joined with our partners in the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition to request $120 million for this program and the Governor's budget represents a strong commitment towards our aspirational ask.
For the past five years the Oregon State Marine Board has been engaging with the non-motorized boating community to learn how the Marine Board can better meet the needs of the community. The state's Non-Motorized Boating Advisory Committee made a unanimous recommendation to institute a Non-Motorized Boating Program that includes elements to address access, safety, education and funding. As an outcome of this process the Marine Board is proposing legislation for the 2017 legislative session that includes a new fee for paddlesports. We are seeking paddler input on this proposal.
The Chehalis Basin is the second largest river basin in Washington State. It is a uniquely fertile and abundant river basin, but it has suffered from devastating flooding for decades. One proposal to address the chronic flooding issue is construction of a new dam that would represent the largest new dam in Washington State in years on a currently free-flowing river. A public comment period is now open on this project through November 14th.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
On May 12, we are honored to be co-hosting "An Evening on the Elwha," where we will hear renowned experts from the field discuss the Elwha's unprecedented and fascinating transformation since the completion of its dam removal project. As part of the evening program, outdoor adventurer, writer and photographer David Spiegel will give a presentation on the Elwha River 2015 Source to Sea Expedition.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
PacifiCorp is in the process of repairing the stair treads at the Canyon Creek take-out access on Merwin Reservoir. Several treads were damaged by vandals who were throwing one-man boudlers down the stairs. Depending on weather, the repairs are expected to take 5 work days over the next two weeks.
The Nisqually River Council (NRC) is preparing a plan for the development and management of a water trail on the main stem Nisqually River from below LaGrande Dam to the Nisqually delta. To help with the planning process, we would like to hear from paddlers who know this river.
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 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.
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.
Last fall the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department solicited input on the designation of a segment of the Molalla River that includes the Three Bears run as a State Scenic Waterway. American Whitewater is actively supporting this designation. We encourage the paddling community to attend the meeting and file comments.
Last fall the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (ORPD) solicited input on the designation of a segment of the Chetco River that includes the Chetco Gorge as a State Scenic Waterway. American Whitewater is actively supporting this designation. We encourage the paddling community to attend the meeting and file comments.
A vision more than a century in the making is about to become reality with last week’s decision by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission to approve the grant for the acquisition of Punchbowl Falls and the property at the confluence of the West and East Forks of the Hood River.
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!
The Wild Olympics Coalition, which includes American Whitewater, today cheered the introduction of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer to permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
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.
Extending from the Seattle waterfront to Ellensburg Washington, the Mountains to Sound Greenway is a 1.5 million acre outdoor recreation paradise. It includes great whitewater runs like the Middle-Middle, Club Stretch, Ernie's Gorge, Fall in the Wall in the Snoqualmie River drainage; Cooper and Cle Elum in the Yakima River drainage; Cedar River Slalom Course; and many more great paddling destinations. Today, we are asking the whitewater paddling community to join in to support the designation of this landscape as a National Heritage Area.
If you boat whitewater rivers in Oregon, American Whitewater wants to hear from you! We're doing a survey to better understand the importance of some of the state's best whitewater runs. The information you provide will be used to support our work to protect, restore and improve access to your favorite rivers in the state.
On April 12, 2015 a Canadian paddler visiting the US was killed on the Farmlands section of Washington's White Salmon River. Denis Brown, 63, flipped in "triple Drop" rapid, did not roll, and washed iunto a strainer on the river right bank. Mr. Brown came our of his kayak and pinned against the strainer, and his boat washed down and lodged against him. There is an excellent report of this and the vigorous rescue attempt available now in the AW Accident Database.
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.
As part of our work to protect and promote access to public waterways, American Whitewater is pursuing a bill in the Washington State legislature to require an evaluation of providing public access for state highway projects that include construction of a bridge across a navigable waterway. Our bill has passed the Senate unanimously and is now before the House Transportation Committee. The most helpful action members can take now is to reach out to members on the Transportation Committee.
The legislative session is underway in Washington State and earlier this week we were shocked to learn of a bill that would severely limit access to the state's rivers and shorelines. Specifically the bill would prohibit water access on small parcels of public land that do not provide formal parking.
Punch Bowl Falls is one of Oregon’s iconic scenic and recreational sites on the Hood River in the Columbia Gorge. At the confluence of the east and west forks of the Hood River, the site has been privately owned and its future remains to be determined. Our goal is to see the site become a public park and we encourage the boating community to join that discussion.
A new study, Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Washington State, by Earth Economics demonstrates the importance of outdoor recreation for the Washington State economy. Residents and visitors collectively spend $21.6 billion annually on trips and equipment purchases supporting nearly 200,000 jobs. Over one third of this economic activity occurs along water. American Whitewater is actively engaged in efforts to promote public access to water and conserve the river resources of the state that represent an important engine for this economic activity
American Whitewater joined river conservation groups in releasing an updated review of the economics of restoring hydropower at Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River in Washington State. This project would cost $40 million to build, would cost more to operate than it brings in for revenue, and accumulate $170 million losses over the life of the project. It is time to remove a project that has not operated since 1958 and is simply an economic loser.
The Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group is developing a Fish Habitat Conservation
Approach focused on the long-term management of salmon and steelhead habitat along the lower six
miles of the White Salmon River. The Enhancement Group has worked closely with American
Whitewater, Yakama Nation, and resource agencies to develop a collective vision for the White
Salmon River that realizes the full benefits of Condit Dam removal for fish and the community. It
is important for the boating community to be a part of this discussion, and we encourage local
boaters to participate in a community meeting in Husum on Saturday, November 15th.
American Whitewater needs your help to define flows that support the full range of whitewater boating opportunities for the Lower Spokane River in Washington. This survey is designed so individuals can evaluate flows, which will then help American Whitewater and our conservation partners describe how flows affect recreation quality. We are seeking responses by Thursday November 6th.
Northwest Power Services recently filed a preliminary permit application to construct a hydropower project on the Talkeetna River. The Talkeetna is known to many as Alaska's best backcountry whitewater trip. The developer proposes to construct a 2300 feet long and 370 feet high dam located in a scenic canyon just downstream of the confluence of Disappointment Creek. A public comment period is now open for this project.
The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) has denied Red Flat Mining Corporation's application for a water right for exploratory mining activities in the headwaters of Baldface Creek and the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River! The international mining company seeks to develop a nickel strip mine in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area, which is one of the most remote and expansive backcountry areas in Southern Oregon. This is an important victory in the effort to protect the crystal clear waters of Southern Oregon, however our work is far from over.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department wants to hear from you about whether three Oregon rivers should be protected as State Scenic Waterways. Sections of the Molalla, Chetco and Grand Ronde, all of which are well known and loved by Pacific Northwest paddlers, are up for consideration. The agency is seeking public feedback. Comments can be emailed or you can respond to a short survey by October 15th.
Please join us at the first annual Seattle Wild Rivers Night at Filson on Wednesday October 1st. Seattle Wild Rivers Night will be a fun evening of socializing with your river friends while enjoying films, photography, and presentations celebrating the wild rivers of Washington State.
After an initial round of meetings, earlier in the summer, the Oregon State Marine Board has announced that they will be doing another round of meetings and will continue to seek feedback on the needs of the non-motorized boating community. We encourage those who paddle in Oregon to join the conversation and provide feedback through the meetings or an online survey.
This year's Sullivan Creek releases will begin September 3, and will continue each day for at least a couple months. These releases, the gage, and a related dam removal were the outcome of a collaborative negotiation between the regional Public Utility District that owns the dams, American Whitewater, and a suite of local, state, and national groups.
On Wednesday, July 23 at 2:30 ET, Colorado Senator Mark Udall will lead a hearing of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee on a suite of land and river conservation bills. The hearing will focus on several bills that are near and dear to the paddling community, including bills to protect Browns Canyon (CO), East Rosebud Creek (MT), and the Mountains to Sound Greenway (WA). Read more to see how you can help.
The Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group has begun work on a Lower White Salmon River Fish Habitat Conservation Strategy and as part of this effort they are hosting an online meeting through this Sunday July 20th (you can join any time). We encourage the whitewater paddling community to contribute to the discussion.
The North Fork Smith River needs your help. An international corporation has their sights set on developing a nickel strip mine on a tributary of Baldface Creek, which is a tributary of the North Fork Smith River. Both are whitewater gems with pristine water quality that also provide strong salmon and steelhead habitat and supply drinking water for residents downstream.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council is currently accepting public comment and holding public hearings about important river protections that impact freely flowing rivers throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana. Hydropower developers have sought to weaken these protections, and we encourage you to speak up for freely flowing rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest today! Comments are due by July 25th.
The Wenatchee River Festival is on for this weekend in Cashmere, WA. This year's festival will include Free shuttles, Riverboard/Raft Surf Competition, Raft and Kayak Down River Races, Freestyle Event, Raft Flip-n-Recovery Event, Throw-rope competition throughout the day, Silent Auction, and Displays featuring festival sponsors, vendors and community groups. All events will take place in Riverside Park in Cashmere. Lunch will be provided by Cascade Canoe and Kayak and the event dinner and party will be at Milepost 111 in Cashmere.
American Whitewater joins a coalition in unveiling a new "Destination Darrington" map as Highway 530 opens to all traffic this weekend restoring access to recreational opportunities along the Sauk and Suiattle Rivers.The colorful brochure map spotlights recreational opportunities around Darrington and local businesses.
On January 15th, 2014, the California Energy Commission adopted a final report that reaffirms the integrity of the state's Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) regarding imported hydropower. After 5 years of hard work, American Whitewater and our partners in the California Hydropower Reform Coalition (CHRC) and river advocates in British Columbia are celebrating this important victory, which will have a reaching impact on rivers across the border.
A broad and diverse coalition of Olympic Peninsula community members, including American Whitewater, cheered the introduction today of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2014 by Representative Derek Kilmer and Senator Patty Murray. The measure, similar to that introduced in the last Congress, by Senator Murray and former Congressman Norm Dicks would permanently protect more than 126,000 acres of ancient and mature forests on Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 Olympic Peninsula rivers and their major tributaries as Wild and Scenic.
This summer, 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. The trip will take place June 5-8.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 9th for Wild Rivers Night! American Whitewater joins Northwest Rafting Company and our river conservation partners to bring you a fun evening of films, photos and presentations celebrating the wild rivers of Oregon. Doors open at 7 p.m....reserve your tickets today!
The BLM has recently announced a series of community listening sessions as part of the revisions for Resource Management Plans for Western Oregon. American Whitewater has engaged in this process and we will be advocating for river conservation and the value of whitewater recreation on BLM-managed lands. Some of the rivers include Umpqua, Alsea (and Drift Creek), Nehalem, Wilson, North Santiam, and Rogue. You can help by attending a meeting or contributing information to our database.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Protected Areas Program protects about 20% of rivers in the Pacific Northwest from future hydropower development. Hydropower developers are working to weaken the Protected Areas Program, and paddlers' voices can help maintain this important river protection program. The Council is receiving comment on the initial recommendations through Wednesday, November 20th.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the availability of two new online stream gages in the Sullivan Creek watershed in northeastern Washington. These gages are brought to you by a partnership between American Whitewater and the Pend Oreille Public Utility District, and will offer paddlers, anglers, and other visitors to the area vital flow information.
After more than three years of waiting the access to the Powerhouse run on the Snoqualmie River is now open for public use. While this is a short run of less than a mile, it is a popular and important section of river less than 30 miles from Seattle.
Earlier this week the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Forterra announced the purchase of 50,272 acres along the Teanaway River and its three forks to be designated as the Teanaway Community Forest. Of importance to the whitewater paddling community, this acquisition will protect riverside lands, maintain water in the river, and keep the river open and accessible to the public.
Today, American Whitewater submitted recommendations for amendments to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Fish and Wildlife Program. The Program has significant influence over rivers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, and American Whitewater encouraged the Council to strengthen areas that are protected from future hydropower development.
The American Canoe Association and the Steering Committee of the Whitewater Symposium will be co-hosting the Whitewater Symposium this year in Bend, Oregon. The event will take place September 27 through 29th at the Mt. Bachelor Village Resort and Tumalo Creek Outfitters, and will bring together a diverse cross section of industry and program advocates. The event affords a unique meeting of minds who are dedicated to the whitewater medium and pro-active in fortifying its future.
While paddling the Elwha River is a fascinating way to experience restoration and recovery of a free-flowing river in action, it's not the only way to get a first-hand look at one of the nation's most ambitious and fascinating restoration projects.
With more than 2,500 miles of roads, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has an extensive road system that supports a variety of public needs, from recreation to resource extraction. Current budget resources are insufficient to support maintenance needs for this road network. American Whitewater is encouraging paddlers to participate in the public process to develop a vision for the future of the roads on this Forest.
Do you enjoy boating on the Nooksack River? If you do, please tell us about your experience. American Whitewater is working with several partners through the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program to develop an updated recreation plan for the upper Nooksack River basin. Your input will help us guide development of this plan.
In an effort to better understand the recreational impacts of the proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project that would dam the Susitna River upstream of Devil's Canyon, a recreational survey is underway for those who have experienced this stretch of river. We encourage our members who know this river to take the survey.
The BLM has implemented a river closure for the Wild and Scenic Rogue River between Grave Creek and Mule Creek due to extreme fire conditions and public health and safety. In addition the Bear Camp shuttle road and Rogue River trail are closed.
Legislative momentum continues to build for the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (S. 112, H. R. 361). Following passage of the bill by unanimous consent in the Senate, the House formally took up the legislation with a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee.
The Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board issued an order directing the Department of Ecology to do an aesthetic flow study if Okanogan PUD decides to build its economically troubled Enloe Dam project on the Similkameen River in Washington State. Of significance to the paddling community, the Order recognizes the critical importance of considering impacts to aesthetics and recreation in decisions that impact water quality.
Today, numerous partners joined American Whitewater in filing comments in opposition to Snohomish PUD No. 1's proposed hydroelectric project on the South Fork Skykomish river at Sunset Falls in Washington. Our comments highlight the significant impacts the project would have to fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and quantity, recreation and scenic values, and call out the questionable economics of the project.
A new economic study of the controversial Sunset Falls Dam on Washington’s South Fork of the Skykomish River, reveals the power generated at the proposed site would cost 2.3 times more than the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD) estimates.
We are pleased to participate in the Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG day on Wednesday, May 15th! Mark your calendars and consider a special contribution (or renewal if your membership has lapsed). All contributions made through American Whitewater's page on the foundation website that day will receive a portion of matching funds made available to non-profits who participate in this opportunity.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.