American Whitewater

Mark Singleton

PO Box 1540

Cullowhee, NC 28723

Phone: 828-586-1930
Fax: 828-586-2840
user contact photo
Mark Singleton joined American Whitewater as Executive Director in November of 2004. Under Mark's leadership, American Whitewater's historically strong conservation and access program has been refocused and transformed into River Stewardship, an integrated approach to the mission work of American Whitewater. Stewardship recognizes the organizations ongoing commitment to the rivers we work to restore and protect. AW’s River Stewardship program adheres to the four tenets of our mission statement:

CONSERVATION: AW’s professional staff works closely with volunteers and partner organizations to protect the ecological and scenic values of all whitewater rivers. These goals are accomplished through direct participation in public decision-making processes, grassroots advocacy, coalition building, empowerment of volunteers, public outreach and education, and, when necessary, legal action.

RIVER ACCESS: To assure public access to whitewater rivers pursuant to the guidelines published in its official Access Policy, AW arranges for river access through private lands by negotiation or purchase, seeks to protect the right of public passage on all rivers and streams navigable by kayak or canoe, encourages equitable and responsible management of whitewater rivers on public lands, and works with government agencies and other river users to achieve these goals.

SAFETY: AW promotes paddling safely, publishes reports on whitewater accidents, maintains a uniform national ranking system for whitewater rivers (the International Scale of Whitewater Difficulty) and publishes and disseminates the internationally- recognized American Whitewater Safety Code.

EDUCATION: AW shares information with the general public and the paddling community regarding whitewater rivers, as well as river recreation, conservation, access, and safety. This is accomplished through our bimonthly AW Journal, a monthly e-news,, paddling events, educational events, and through direct communication with the press.

Under Mark's leadership, AW staff, members, volunteers, and affiliate clubs achieve the goals of conserving, protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers and enhancing opportunities to safely enjoy these wonderful rivers.

In 2011, The River Management Society awarded Singleton with the Outstanding Contribution to River Management Award. Criteria for the Outstanding Contribution to River Management Award includes:

Advanced the field of river management through contributions in areas such as science, education, interpretation, research, and/or law enforcement;

Developed innovative (or creatively adapted) river management techniques;

Organized conferences/meetings that advanced river management as a science and as a profession;

Developed or implemented new communication techniques to coordinate and connect managers;

Provided opportunities for increased awareness by citizens and river visitors of their role in caring for rivers and watersheds; and/or

Was an outstanding advocate for and promoted professional river management and outdoor ethics.

Mark is also the past Chairman of the Outdoor Alliance, a coalition of six human-powered outdoor recreation groups. The six membership groups of Outdoor Alliance have a long tradition of preserving public access to America's Outdoors. They work together to protect the places we care about with a goal of making a difference — for today and tomorrow. Members of the Outdoor Alliance include: Access Fund, American Canoe Association, American Hiking Society American Whitewater, International Mountain Bicycling Association, and Winter Wildlands Alliance. Collectively, the Outdoor Alliance has members in all fifty states and a network of almost 1,400 local clubs and advocacy groups across the nation. The coalition represents the millions of Americans who hike, paddle, climb, mountain bike, ski and snowshoe on our nation’s public lands and waters.

Singleton has over two decades of involvement in the marketing of outdoor activities and nature based tourism. From 1990 to 2003 Singleton led the marketing efforts of Nantahala Outdoor Center as Marketing Vice President. He is also a past board member of the Outdoor Industry Association and for seven years Mark represented the interests of outdoor recreation on the North Carolina Division of Travel and Tourism Board.

Mark and his wife Debby, a faculty member at Western Carolina University, and their two daughters live in Cullowhee, NC.


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