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Friendsville and AW prepare for the 2016 Release Season

Posted: 03/29/2016
by Charlie Walbridge

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. The town has a population of around 500 and hosts over 300 paddlers on a busy weekend. American Whitewater has worked closely with the town for many years, helping to negotiate the releases and manage parking and other issues. Many of us have been enjoying the place for years and were pleased to help accommodate the crowds.

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. Since maintaining this facility would be a significant burden on the town budget Don Millard, a paddler from Fort Hill, PA, has once again taken over mowing both here and at Sang Run. Thanks to his work river access fees are unusually low: the town lot is free, and American Whitewater's suggested Sang Run donation of $2 has remained unchanged since we started this work over a decade ago.

Over this past winter local outfitter Roger Zbel and  Friendsville councilman Jess Whittemore represented river interests to state and county officials. They made sure that whitewater sport was recognized in the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan and reminded everyone of the value of these releases to the Town. Their in-depth knowledge of the river and dam operations was a huge asset here! Town Council, under the leadership of Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle, was extremely supportive throughout. Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!  

The season opens on Friday, April 15 and the dam releases from 10 AM to 1 PM every Friday thereafter. The first full weekend is Friday, Saturday, and Monday May 6-9; Cheat Fest Weekend! Please remember to 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, rowdy behavior that would disturb nearby residents. Never park in residential areas along the river. Stay on the gravel in the parking lot as much as possible, especially when the ground is wet. And take time to patronize the many businesses in town who are eagerly awaiting your arrival.

For more information on water releases heck the Deep Creek Hydro Web Site:

Charles Walbridge
Bruceton Mills, WV