Mine at the Numbers (CO) Put-In Withdrawn
We received notice today that the Oro Vista project proponent has officially withdrawn their proposal to mine placer gold in the Arkansas River near the Numbers put-in and is no longer under consideration by the Forest Service.
New USGS Gage Installed on Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek! (NC)
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the installation of a new online U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gage on Wilson Creek, one of North Carolina's five federally-designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. The new stream gage is the result of a partnership between American Whitewater, Duke Energy and the USGS, and is expected to provide significant public safety and recreational benefits. American Whitewater would like to thank Duke Energy and the USGS, on behalf of the paddling community, for this great investment in the safe enjoyment of Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek.
Flow Surveys Announced for the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers (CO)
American Whitewater needs your help to define stream flows that support the full range of recreational boating opportunities on the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers. Information collected by this study will be used to understand existing use on the river, quantify acceptable flows for all segments on the mainstem rivers, and assist in defining the economic impact river recreation has on the region. Please fill out the survey today! Click here for the Crystal survey and here for the Roaring Fork Survey.
AW Objects to Brookfield Refusal to Reschedule Cheoah Releases (NC)
The owner of Santeetlah Dam, Brookfield, has refused requests to reschedule eight spring releases on the Cheoah River that were cancelled because of Covid-19. Today, American Whitewater filed a request asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require Brookfield make up at least half of the cancelled releases later this year. The request comes after Brookfield delayed a meeting to reschedule releases for three months and then flatly refused to provide any make-up releases. Similar releases on nearby dams operated by other owners were rescheduled willingly and without issue, and offered the public valuable late summer and early fall paddling opportunities.
Help Designate Over 1000 Miles of New Wild and Scenic Rivers
We've got an opportunity to designate over 1000 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers and we need your voice to help make it happen. The must-pass National Defense Authorization Act has a package of key public lands and rivers protections attached to it, including new Wild and Scenic designations that the AW staff worked directly with key members of Congress to include, and for which we now need you to reach out to your representative in support of to ensure they're included in the final bill. We make it too easy with our super simple action form, but please remember, if you have an extra moment, personalizing your message makes it all the more impactful. This package, including protections for the Grand Canyon, Wild Olympics in Washington, the Dolores in Colorado, and several landscapes in California, is not guaranteed to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act - It's up to us to make it happen, so take action today.
Gauley Fest 2020 Coming to Your Home Sept 23!
In an effort to keep you, our staff and volunteers, and the communities that host our events as safe as possible, we made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel all AW events in 2020, including our traditional Gauley Fest throwdown in West Virginia. Not as rowdy, and in need of more support than ever, Gauley Fest 2020 is happening this year! Although a little differently… maybe a lot differently - we are going virtual. This decision was not an easy one to make, but we are excited for you to join the first-ever virtual Gauley Fest! We have speakers, films, BIG prize drawings, and fun, all designed to create an amazing event for everyone and help keep the Gauley spirit alive. The event will take place at 7:30 pm EST on Wednesday, September 23rd. Attendance is free and registering is easy http://bit.ly/GauleyFest_2020
Gore Fest 2020 – Virtual Edition
Thanks to our industry partner, Down River Equipment, and top membership drawing sponsor, Rocky Mountain Rafts, we were able to give away a full overnight raft set up to new and renewing Gore Fest members. When we first began planning this virtual event, we set our membership goal at a modest 100 memberships. We exactly doubled that goal, with 200 new memberships and over half of those at Ender Club level or higher. Our membership drawing was also supported by the generous donations from Pyranha, Hala Gear, Kokatat, and Yakima.
September Volunteer of the Month - Dave 'Hojo' Hajoglou--Presented by Kokatat
Dave Hajoglou - more commonly known as Hojo - is American Whitewater's September Volunteer of the Month. Hojo is an absolutely integral part of the Gore Canyon Festival every year. Providing his software genius through his company Wavemonkey Scoring, Hojo times the Gore Race and judges and scores the freestyle event at the Pumphouse wave all free of charge. He doesn't just show up with a computer either. Hojo is involved year-round in the planning and preparation, always looking for ways improve the smoothness and safety of our competitive events. However, most enjoyably Hojo has taken on the emcee role at the awards ceremony even going so far as joining the performing bands with a hot harmonica solo.
Improved Flow Releases Begin on Sullivan Creek (WA)
Releases from Sullivan Lake will begin ramping Sullivan Creek flows up to boatable levels immediately following Labor Day next week, and will maintain elevated flows for much of the fall. Historic fall drawdown releases were modified to be earlier in the fall, colder, at lower flows, and to have a slower ramp-up through a 2010 Settlement Agreement that American Whitewater worked on extensively. These changes make the draw-down releases better for fish, better for paddling, and more valuable to downstream water users and the local utility and rate-payers. The removal of Mill Pond Dam required the negotiated flow schedule be delayed for several years following approval. With the dam now removed, the new flows will begin.
Gauley Season 2020
While Gauley Fest has moved to a virtual format for 2020 due to Covid-19 and social distancing concerns, releases on the Gauley River will still take place. American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This information will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River for the 2020 season.
Governor Inslee Directs State Agencies to Cease Chehalis Dam Efforts (WA)
This past week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee directed Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Chehalis Basin Board to cease planning efforts and environmental review of a proposed new dam on the Chehalis River and instead develop and present a basin-wide, non-dam alternative to flood damage reduction. American Whitewater appreciates the Governor's decision that is responsive to concerns we raised throughout the environmental review process.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife to Require Hunting or Fishing License at River Access
In an unexpected and strategic move by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), a Colorado hunting or fishing license will now be required to access State Wildlife Areas and CPW-leased State Trust Lands (effective July 1, 2020). Many of these affected areas have historically been used for paddling, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, and other non-consumptive recreation uses. CPW's press release stated that "This rule is aimed at curtailing non-wildlife-related use of these properties", and while we understand the need to increase revenue to support management of these areas, we have a few concerns with this strategy. On July 1, American Whitewater, Colorado Mountain Club, and multiple other organizations submitted a joint letter to CPW Commissioners requesting that they reconsider the new Rule and find a more practicable and sustainable method for collecting fees for these areas.
HELP US STOP HYDRO DEVELOPMENT ON BIG CANYON (AZ)
In the ongoing saga of hydro dam developments proposed within striking distance of Grand Canyon National Park, American Whitewater is asking for help from the paddling community to stop a development that would impact the greater Grand Canyon area and its tributaries. Back in October 2019, we wrote an article outlining the proposal submitted by Phoenix-based hydroelectric company Pumped Hydro LLC to place two dams on the Little Colorado River, a tributary of the Colorado River's mighty Grand Canyon. This proposal was met with a large amount of pushback for the cultural impact on indigenous tribes, ecological impacts, and water use. To address these concerns, Pumped Hydro decided to file an alternative (yet equally problematic) proposal for a hydro development on Big Canyon, a tributary of the Little Colorado River. The Big Canyon project permit application has been accepted into the Federal Energy Regulation Commission's (FERC) registrar, initiating a public comment period on the project ending August 1 and we need members of the paddling community to step up and make their voices heard!
We Need your Help to Protect Paddlers’ Access to New Mexico Rivers and Streams
Rivers once promoted by the New Mexico State Parks Division in their publication "New Mexico Whitewater - A Guide to River Trips" are now being blocked by private landowners with barricades, cables and No Trespassing signs. This includes upper Chama and Pecos river segments. Privatizers have filed additional applications that would close several other river segments in New Mexico, and their lawyers are threatening an "immense wave" of constitutional "litigation" in the event that "any action by the Court, the Legislature, the Department, or the Commission… restrict[s] landowners' rights to prevent the public from using their streambeds underlying public waters." American Whitewater has been working with our local partners in New Mexico to ensure that this new Rule is rescinded. We need your support to win this battle. If you're in a position to contribute, doing so will help us with legal expenses for our partners and outreach.
Senator Wyden Introduces Legislation to Invest in Public Lands
As the impacts of COVID-19 ripple through the economy, Members of Congress are seeking ideas for what economic recovery looks like. Several Congressional offices have reached out to American Whitewater to solicit ideas for projects and initiatives that would benefit public lands and outdoor recreation while putting people to work. Over the past two weeks we have been working with our colleagues at Outdoor Alliance to develop some specific proposals. We are thrilled to report that Senator Wyden from Oregon has taken some our ideas and stepped up in a big way to make investment in public lands and the outdoor recreation economy a personal priority.
Great American Outdoors Act Introduced
It's been a wild ride this past week for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Restore Our Parks Act all initiated by a tweet from the President that began with these words: "I am calling on Congress to send me a Bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks." We just got back from a week in DC working to make it happen and all indications are that we are on the cusp of getting legislation passed that directly benefits and provides resources for river access. The bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, introduced yesterday by 55 Senators, combines the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act and Restore Our Parks Act with some key changes and additional funding we requested. Use our easy action form to reach out your representatives today and help us make sure this incredible opportunity for funding river recreation and conservation does not pass us by!
American Whitewater Releases New River Access Planning Guide
In a joint project with the River Management Society, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Forest Service (USFS), and National Park Service (NPS), American Whitewater has published the River Access Planning Guide. American Whitewater is regularly called upon to assist with river access projects. Some are a spectacular success, while others are a disappointment. Over the past three years, American Whitewater has been working with the NPS Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Programs to better understand how success comes about when a river access project is developed and provide guidance for a step-by-step process that leads to projects that meet user needs and are sustainable both ecologically and financially.
Owyhee Canyonlands Legislation Introduced (OR)
This week's introduction of the Malheur County Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act (S. 2828) represents a historic move to protect over 1.1 million acres of public lands as wilderness in Malheur County centered around the Owyhee Canyonlands. The legislation also includes protection for an additional 14.7 miles of the Owyhee River as Wild and Scenic.
Recreation Not Red Tape Act: a bill to benefit outdoor recreation
For the past several years American Whitewater has worked with our partners on the Recreation Not Red Tape Act (H.R. 3458/S.1967). This is among the most important piece of positive policy we expect to see this Congress in terms of improving outdoor recreation and our access to rivers on public land. Senator Wyden originally approached us on the idea of a bill to benefit outdoor recreation to encourage sustainable use and enjoyment of public lands and waters. Learn more and take action to join us in supporting this legislation.