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Welcome to the New National Whitewater Inventory!

Posted: 01/25/2019
by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater has worked with an outstanding team of website designers and programmers over the past two years to redesign our National Whitewater Inventory (NWI). The NWI provides high quality information for a growing list of 5,760 whitewater river reaches across the United States. Each year this online guide helps almost 1,000,000 paddlers avoid hazards and match their skill level to the right rivers at the right flows. Like a Wikipedia of whitewater rivers, the Inventory is a dynamic crowd-sourced collection of river descriptions, locations, hazards, photos, and flow recommendations organized by a powerful database. This project was funded by a generous grant from the US Coast Guard, based on the NWI’s vital river safety value.

Site visitors will recognize right away that the NWI works great on their phones and tablets for the first time, which was a primary goal of the project. Together with the apps, this will bring the power of the NWI with you to the put in. The NWI also has a new easy-to-use edit interface, allowing registered website users to contribute to river descriptions, photos, alerts, and other key facets of the NWI. We hope this leads to an influx of new energy and content in the NWI. We have increased the ease submitting and viewing alerts to help paddlers convey wood and other hazard reports, and we redesigned the accident database. And the whole site offers a modern, aesthetic, and more intuitive design. Some of the design themes carried across the entire American Whitewater website, so you’ll notice some changes throughout our site.

Early in 2018 American Whitewater secured its first ever government grant to tackle this project. The US Coast Guard granted us $75,000 to complete this water safety project from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which we completed in under two years. The Coast Guard subsequently granted us additional funds to further integrate mapping tools into the NWI, facilitate crowdsourcing through our apps, redesign our river safety page, and other NWI enhancements. This work has begun and will proceed over the next year.    

We would like to thank the US Coast Guard for supporting this important project. We’d also like to recognize our tireless lead programmer Ryan Groth, assistant programmer Matt Anger, lead designer Drew Althage, and assistant designer Shawn Meeks. AW’s Kevin Colburn served as the lead grant writer and project manager, Evan Stafford was the technical manager, Bob Nasdor provided vital assistance with grant writing, and the whole AW team helped pull this off. We also want to express our enduring gratitude to the many volunteers that have put so much effort into curating the content of the NWI since the dawn of the internet.

We hope you like it, and we hope you’ll consider adding some some nice photos, sharing hazard alerts, and updating river pages that lack high quality information. As with any new website, you can expect some hiccups, and trust that we’ll be fixing bugs as fast as we can over the next few hours, days, and months. We are aware that gage information is not updating yet on the new site, and that banner photo positioning is not sticking yet, and will have those and other bugs resolved shortly. We are actively fixing bugs and enhancing the user experience of the new design, so expect improved performance in the coming weeks. Contact evan@americanwhitewater.org if you have questions or would like to report a bug. Heads up - the new site is not designed to work with Internet Explorer, and we are working on a fix for that issue. 

Enjoy the new site!

Evan Stafford
516 Stover Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Phone: 970-420-5377