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AW in the MidAtlantic

American Whitewater has a long history of working in the Mid-Atlantic. Our regional conservation and access program is directed towards securing recreational releases from dams and securing public access points to rivers, which would otherwise be lost due to development. Our work on securing releases on the Gauley and Yough (both Upper and Lower) have proven integral to developing regional rural economic strategies and building sustainable commercial markets for eco-tourism opportunities. We are lucky that West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland have fairly strong navigability and public access laws; however we are vigilant for any legislation that would reduce the public right to float. We are also increasingly concerned about the state of water quality in the Mid-Atlantic and the effect of surface mining and extractive mountain top mining removal in which unusable dross is simply pushed into sensitive headwaters streams and creeks.

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

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

30th Anniversary of the Great 1985 West Virginia Flood

posted November 4, 2015
by Charlie Walbridge
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The 30th Anniversary of the Grest West Virginia "Election Day" flood is being remembered this November 5th and 6th. Massive rains (12 - 14"!) in the Cheat, Potomac, Tygart, and Greenbriar Headwaters caused unprecedented floods. The massive high water surge had tragic results: 40 dead, 2600 homeless, and over a half a billion dollars in damages. Many of our favorite runs saw huge changes. Click through for an article on the Cheat Canyon that was published in the Preston County Journal. For more stories, click here

Help Restore the New River Dries Today (WV)

posted October 22, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
article photo 2

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

Virginia Paddling Rights Clarified – Respect for Landowners Vital

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

Virginia Announces New Bridge Access Program

posted July 14, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Late last week, the Commonwealth of Virginia took a great step forward in enhancing public access to rivers and streams. Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a memorandum of understanding that directs three state agencies to work together to identify new potential public-access projects, particularly at bridge crossings and roads. American Whitewater applauds the efforts of Governor McAuliffe to keep Virginia residents and visitors alike connected to the Commonwealth's outstanding rivers and streams.

Bellows Falls (VT) Flow Study Reveals Hidden Whitewater

posted June 2, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy. 

Upcoming Events

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Calendar by Date by Title

September 2016

American Whitewater Gauley Fest
09:00 am -11:00 pm est


Potomac, North Branch Release Luke,MD runs 08/26/06 - 05/18/14
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Upper Yough Release Friendsville,MD runs 04/15/05 - 10/15/12
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Gauley Releases Summersville,WV runs 09/09/05 - 10/18/15
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Great Falls Race Great Falls,MD runs 07/04/15 - 07/04/15
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American Whitewater Gauley Fest Summersville,WV runs 09/20/13 - 09/17/16, next 09/17/16
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Lehigh River Release White Haven,PA runs 05/10/08 - 09/01/13
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Stonycreek River Releases Johnstown,PA runs 06/02/12 - 10/21/12
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American Whitewater Gauley Fest Summersville,WV runs 09/14/12 - 09/15/12
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Tohickon Creek Point Pleasant,PA runs 05/20/06 - 03/18/12
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Savage River Release Savage River Dam,MD runs 09/09/07 - 09/26/15
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Related Groups

Volunteer Opportunities / Activities

Associated Projects

  • Clean Water Act
    American Whitewater's advocacy to protect water quality.
  • Gauley River (WV)
    For many years AW has worked on the protection of this river and advocated for public access.
  • Lehigh River (PA)
    AW has worked with local paddling clubs to improve the recreational value of dam releases on the Lehigh
  • Upper Yough Access (MD)
    AW collaboratively manages the put in for the Upper Youghiogheny River in Western Maryland.
  • Upper Yough Releases (MD)
    American Whitewater worked closely with local paddlers and other stakeholders to negotiate an improved flow regime on the Upper Yough.
  • Virginia Access
    Virginia has some superb rivers and river access laws among the worst in the Nation. American Whitewater is working to assure the basic right to float down a stream in Virginia.