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.
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.
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:
Keith Backlund, a master woodworker who created canoe and kayak paddles of unmatched quality, died on the evening of October 25th. He was 60 years old. Born in the Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania, he grew up making many of the things he needed. An interest in whitewater lead him to concentrate on wood paddle making and he soon became expert at both. Although he started two mainstream paddle companies, Woodlight and Viking, his first love was building custom paddles. He rarely built more than 200 per year. His many apprentices, including Phil Coleman, Jim Snyder, and Jess Whittemore, credit him with being "a catalyst for excellence" that helped them develop the focus and craftsmanship they needed to produce outstanding work. His legacy remains in the hands of many paddlers each time they run a river.
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.
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.
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.
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.