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A Big Win for River Protections in Arizona!

05/22/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

The Tonto National Forest in Arizona will receive robust protections for over 188 river miles. Rivers like the iconic Salt River and steep waterfall runs like Christopher Creek have been determined to be eligible for Wild and Scenic River protections, requiring the Forest Service to protect their free-flow character and their many outstanding values. American Whitewater and our members advocated for the protection of these streams and it’s time to celebrate this great outcome!

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Sign Petition to Protect Water Quality in Colorado’s Rivers!

05/18/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

Sign here to protect water quality in Colorado’s exceptional rivers and creeks! American Whitewater and our partners are working to protect water quality in 26 creeks and rivers in Colorado. The designation of Outstanding Waters provides the highest level of water quality protections in Colorado. In order to qualify for Outstanding Waters designation, rivers must have existing high water quality, have exceptional ecological or recreational significance, and constitute a need for additional protection. These rivers include the Upper Taylor River, Escalante Creek, Lime Creek, Wolf Creek, and Roubideau Creek. We are also looking for members of the paddling community to provide written or oral testimony to the Water Quality Control Commission at the June 13 and 14 hearing. Please email Kestrel directly at to sign up to give testimony. 

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2022 Recreational Releases for South Fork Silver Creek and Slab Creek (CA)

05/13/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Annually, American Whitewater and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) coordinate required recreational flows on South Fork Silver Creek below Icehouse Reservoir and South Fork American River below Slab Creek Reservoir.  The final water year forecast that will determine scheduled recreational flows will be released on May 9th. Recreational flows will vary depending on the final forecast which will either be a DRY or a BELOW NORMAL water year. 

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Limited Edition Colorado River Inspired AW Gear – Only Available Until May 15th

05/12/2022 - by Evan Stafford

Show your support for American Whitewater with limited edition Planning for Rapids Returning to the Colorado River gear! American Whitewater has partnered again with FLOAT to bring you these tees, tanks, and hoodies, but only for a limited time! Celebrate the beauty of rivers and that ever important ingredient - flowing water! Support American Whitewater in our stewardship efforts! We have several t-shirt and hoodie styles available and for every item sold FLOAT will donate $8 to American Whitewater in support of our stewardship efforts protecting, restoring and ensuring safe access and enjoyment of our rivers.

Head on over to FLOAT and SHOP today - lots of fun colors and styles to choose from! 

Don't delay. . . this offer is only available this week and expires on Sunday, May 15th! 

Thanks for supporting American Whitewater!

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Full Access Restored to Eagle Creek (OR)

05/12/2022 - by Scott Harding

The iconic Eagle Creek whitewater run in the Columbia River Gorge has been closed for years, and we’re happy to announce that our advocacy work to restore access has paid off and the creek is now fully open to all hikers, paddlers, canyoneers, and others who would like to enjoy this spectacular creek. This includes access to Punchbowl Falls, which had been closed to paddlers since at least 2013.

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Ask House For Nationwide Low-Head Dam Inventory!

05/12/2022 - by Hattie Johnson

Low-Head Dams dot rivers and creeks of all sizes across the country, creating hazards to paddlers and other river users. American Whitewater and our partners have been working to include an authorization of a nationwide inventory of low head dams in the 2022 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Help us in asking the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to include the inventory in their 2022 WRDA bill.

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Help Us Protect Flow for Recreation (CO)

05/12/2022 - by Hattie Johnson

The aridification of the Colorado River basin is taking a toll on the water supply of the region. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Colorado River Compact, the document that dictates the distribution of water across the seven states and Mexico who rely on it. In the time since the signing of the Compact, large reservoirs have been built to supply water to growing farms, ranches and towns. Those reservoirs are at critically low levels. Cooperative and flexible management is going to be required in our more arid future. AW has a seat at the table in discussing how that flexibility can benefit river health and recreation through cooperation and improved legal mechanisms for stream flow.


In Colorado, it wasn’t until 2001 that there were legal protections for flows for recreation. Glenwood Springs recently received protections for flows on the mainstem Colorado for future generations to enjoy the amazing recreation in Glenwood canyon.

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Gauley Fest 2022 is on! Vendor Registration is live!

05/11/2022 - by Bethany Overfield

We’re so relieved and excited to announce that American Whitewater's Biggest Public Outreach Event is back on the schedule for 2022! Started in 1983 to celebrate the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have disrupted the flows on the Gauley River, Gauley Fest has grown to become the largest paddling festival in the world. The festival is a showcase for American Whitewater and the top whitewater vendors in the boating community. 

The 2022 Festival will take place from September 15th through September 18th. We’ll be posting more details in the coming weeks, but Vendors can register for booth space now! 

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Great Falls Catawba Releases Delayed Until Next Spring (SC)

05/10/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

The start of flow releases on the Great Falls of the Catawba have unfortunately been delayed from this August to next spring. The pace and scale of work being done on the hydropower project and related lands to support releases is extraordinary, and while disappointed we are confident that the delay is merited. American Whitewater will continue to work with Duke Power and the community of Great Falls to be ready for releases next March. Starting in March releases will occur every week or two through October, at nearly 3000 cfs in each channel. 

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Weber Releases Get Green Light For This Summer! (UT)

05/09/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave the green light for recreational releases to begin on Utah’s Weber River this summer! The move came when the agency approved the Whitewater Boating Plan, which was a critical step prior to the flow restoration called for in the new license for the Weber Hydroelectric Project. American Whitewater recently requested that FERC expedite approval of the plan so the public could enjoy the Weber River this year and we are delighted that they did so! With the plan now accepted, American Whitewater will quickly work with the power company to analyze flow forecasts and schedule the four negotiated Saturday releases between late May and mid-July. American Whitewater has spent the past seven years negotiating these releases. We hope paddlers enjoy them this year and in the future!

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Coming Soon: Reliable Whitewater Paddling at Turners Falls (MA)

05/05/2022 - by Robert Nasdor

Regular summertime whitewater releases will finally be coming to the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, thanks to years of negotiations during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s relicensing of the Turners Falls hydropower dam. This Spring, American Whitewater, Appalachian Mountain Club, New England FLOW and rafting outfitters signed a whitewater agreement that is now being finalized through a comprehensive settlement agreement and ultimately a new 50-year FERC license, guaranteeing reliable whitewater releases in the popular river reach below Turners Falls dam, previously only runnable when the river flow exceeded the capacity of the hydropower dam in the early Spring.

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Take Action to Help End DC Area Paddling Ban

05/04/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

Montgomery County Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington DC, does a strange thing. The County prohibits paddling without a permit in county parks, and does not offer any permits. So through a bureaucratic sleight of hand, paddling is banned on the rivers flowing through public lands. On paper, these closures affect popular sections of the Potomac, but they’ve also had real impacts on preventing and criminalizing paddling on smaller streams like Seneca, Cabin John, and Sligo creeks. We make it really simple to take action and send a letter requesting a fix for this defacto paddling ban – use our easy-action form and please perosnlaize the template, it makes a big difference. 

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Clackamas River Open for River Runners (OR)

05/01/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe

We are pleased to report that the Clackamas River corridor is now open and available to the public. Oregon Highway 224 above Estacada was re-opened Sunday May 1st after a closure that was implemented in September 2020 following the Riverside Fire and lasted 20 months. While we are pleased that the river corridor has been re-opened, we believe the amount of tree removal was excessive, the length of the closure was longer than necessary, and the Forest Service did not appropriately engage the public. American Whitewater is actively coordinating with other user groups and will continue to explore potential administrative and legislative actions to provide greater accountability and transparency for how closures are implemented and communicated to the public. 

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Middle Fork Feather & Four Other California Rivers Reopened

04/02/2022 - by Scott Harding

Great news out of California!

The Middle Fork Feather River's Devils Canyon run is open again after we succeeded in convincing the Plumas National Forest to end its two-year boating ban on that spectacular multi-day run, just in time for its prime spring season! Our members and supporters helped signficantly by sending in nearly 1,000 comments to the Forest Service.

We have also been working with the Eldorado National Forest to reopen access to rivers that had been closed since last summer's Caldor Fire, and we're happy to report that they just reopened access to 54 miles of whitewater on four different rivers.

All told, American Whitewater helped restore access to 88 miles of whitewater this week, covering nine runs on five different rivers!

MF Feather River photo by Carli Beisel.

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Mokelumne River (CA) 2022 Recreational Releases

04/01/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

American Whitewater worked with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and the Ecological Resource Committee for the Mokelumne River Hydropower Project to confirm recreational releases for 2022.

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Electron Dam Operator Signs Agreement to Protect Puyallup River (WA)

03/25/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe

A coalition of conservation groups has reached an agreement with the operators of the Electron hydroelectric project on the Puyallup River to preserve safeguards for threatened Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. The groups had sued over the facility’s illegal killing of these imperiled fish. The agreement will keep the project from operating until and unless operators can address the project’s unacceptable impacts to federally protected native fish threatened with extinction.

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Nantahala Pisgah Forest Plan Released, Improvements Sought (NC)

03/24/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater has been actively working on the new Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest’s management plan for almost a decade. The plan covers 1.1 million acres of public lands in Western North Carolina and some of the finest whitewater paddling anywhere. Our goals for the new plan were to increase river protections, improve recreational management, and build broad support for future Congressional Wild and Scenic River designations. Along the way we made a lot of friends, including many Forest Service staff and all the members of the collaborative brain-trust that is the Nantahala Pisgah Forest Partnership. The new forest plan was released in late January, and it includes both triumphs and disappointments for river enthusiasts. Earlier this week, American Whitewater filed two pre-decisional appeals (called objections) of the proposed Forest Plan. 

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2022 North Fork Feather (CA) Releases and Opportunities

03/18/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

American Whitewater is happy to confirm boating opportunities for the North Fork Feather River on the Rock Creek and Cresta Reach for 2022. These flows are a part of license operations and were included in the hydropower license order that American Whitewater helped negotiate with Pacific Gas & Electric. 

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Executive Director Mark Singleton to Transition From American Whitewater

03/14/2022 - by Mark Singleton

Back in 2004, several of the American Whitewater Board members I knew recruited me for the position of Executive Director and I accepted. If I had known what kind of financial shape AW was really in when the job was offered I would have thought twice about taking the position, but I did accept. And in doing so, I have experienced one of the greatest career opportunities of my life. In those early years at American Whitewater we struggled just to keep the lights on. The organization owed more money than it had in the bank and even though we had recently celebrated our 50th Anniversary, the American Whitewater job was like taking on a struggling 50 year-old start up. Today, American Whitewater is in a remarkable position. By any measure the organization is stronger than it has ever been, with an awesome staff team in place. The bench strength of the AW team runs deep and staff know how to punch way above their weight. The right time for a leadership transition is when an organization is at the top of its game, and American Whitewater is clearly there. At the end of June, I plan to transition out of the executive director role. This will provide our Board with a long runway to find the next leader to head the organization. I will be working closely with the Board to make this a smooth and thoughtful transition. The job of executive director is both challenging and highly rewarding, for the right person it is a dream job.

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Expect Atypical Nantahala Flows This Spring and Possibly Longer (NC)

03/14/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

Duke Energy has announced that they can only generate power and release water from the powerhouse at 50% of their normal capacity on the Nantahala River due to the failure of a transformer. The powerhouse is now capable of releasing 315 cfs versus the typical 630 cfs, and these conditions are likely to persist through May, and possibly considerably longer. Duke Energy will be releasing flows from the dam into the Upper Nantahala, which is normally bypassed by a tunnel between the dam and the powerhouse, in order to maintain reservoir levels and meet downstream recreational release requirements.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!