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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 Options at Outfitters Clarified for 2016

posted May 16, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
article photo 2

Over the past couple years American Whitewater has been working with regional paddlers, the National Park Service, and other interested folks to improve river access on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers near Harpers Ferry, WV. One outcome of that effort has been recognition of the parking, access, and shuttle services the rafting outfitters in the area offer provide. The outfitters worked with private boaters to share a fact sheet of the various services they offer, which you can download.

Friendsville and AW prepare for the 2016 Release Season

posted March 29, 2016
by Charlie Walbridge
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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:

Dave Brown, Protector of the Ocoee and Gauley, Looks Back

posted March 24, 2016
by Charlie and Sandy Walbridge
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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.

2016 Lehigh River Release Schedule Announced (PA)

posted February 1, 2016
by Kevin Colburn
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The U.S. Army Corps Engineers’ Philadelphia District released the 2016 Flow Management Plan for the Francis E. Walter Dam in White Haven, PA.  The whitewater release schedule includes 24 dates (4 of which are dependent on sufficient water storage and not including final October weekend).

Northeast Boaters Seek To Expand West River (VT) Boating

posted December 6, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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In response to of the state’s draft basin plan for southern Vermont, American Whitewater and scores of boaters pressed the state to support the expansion of releases on the West River. Restrictions by the Corps of Engineers and Agency of Natural Resources have led to the elimination of nearly all scheduled boating opportunities on the West River over the past two decades, eliminating recreation opportunity and hurting the local economy. AW and its partners have been working to restore these releases.

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

Calendar Control Date:
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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American Whitewater Gauley Fest Summersville,WV runs 09/15/12 - 09/17/16, next 09/17/16
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Upper Yough Release Friendsville,MD runs 04/15/05 - 10/15/12
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Great Falls Race Great Falls,MD runs 07/04/15 - 07/04/15
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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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Gauley Releases Summersville,WV runs 09/09/05 - 10/18/15
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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.