Longmont, Colorado - As part of a comprehensive Stream Management Plan for the St Vrain Creek Watershed, American Whitewater is collecting and compiling data on recreational uses, and identifying projects and strategies to improve stream health, recreation, and environmental conditions in the region. You can help with this extensive effort. Please participate in the Recreational Flow survey.
Earlier this week the Tennessee Wilderness Act passed the US House and Senate as part of the Farm Bill, and now heads to the President's desk to become law. This bill has been promoted by local citizens and the Tennessee delegation for nearly a decade, and American Whitewater and many paddlers have voiced their support over the years. These Wilderness designations will protect some places that are special to paddlers.
This week the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army announced their intent to redefine the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that are protected under the Clean Water Act. Our preliminary read is this proposal would substantially reduce protections for headwater streams representing the source of our nation’s rivers. The proposed “revision” for the 2015 Clean Water Rule is now available for review and will soon be open a 60 day comment period when it is published to the Federal Register. We'll keep you informed.
The online National Whitewater Inventory (NWI) is one of American Whitewater’s most valuable assets, in terms of fulfilling our stewardship goals and in encouraging the safe enjoyment of our nation’s rivers. We are constantly working to enhance the river beta our army of volunteers provides in the inventory, and the ways that beta is shared and received. Nearly two years ago, American Whitewater was awarded a grant from the United States Coast Guard to update our National Whitewater Inventory and accident database, and to incorporate a responsive design and improved user interface into our river pages. We used this grant as the basis for making design and functional upgrades across our website, the first phase of which will be released at the tail-end of December 2018.
If you haven't started already it's time to start planning for that big multi-day trip you've been wanting to do. American Whitewater's permit database can help you find the information you need.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce our 2018 Holiday Membership Offer – a one year AW membership paired up with our 2019 AW calendar or AW Silipint Cup. . .and all for just $45! Giving a great gift and supporting your favorite non-profit at the same time. . . great river karma!
Federal Coast Guard Law is set to change for the better, allowing throw ropes as a “type of life saving equipment,” in lieu of throw cushions under rafting regulations on federally managed whitewater rivers across the country. On November 27, 2018, the "Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018" headed to the President's desk for his signature.
It is looking like another great year to be a paddler in the Southeast! Over the past two decades American Whitewater has worked with affiliate clubs and partners to negotiate an awesome array of scheduled releases on river reaches previously dewatered by hydropower dams. Each year we help schedule these releases in an integrated manner that aims to maximize their recreational value. Read on to see the great line up for 2019!
Please welcome our newest staff member, Bethany Overfield. Bethany is stepping into the large shoes being vacated with the retirement of Carla Miner. Both Bethany and Carla are working together through the month of December to ensure a smooth membership services transition.
American Whitewater is set to come out swinging in 2019, protecting rivers and access, restoring flows, and creating new ways to provide the beta you need to get out and paddle, but we can’t do it without your memberships and donations to keep our work on track. American Whitewater is your true bipartisan river recreation and conservation organization working for your interests and creating opportunities for you to spend time on the river. We know that protecting and restoring rivers, and our access to them, creates opportunities to spend time on the river, and we believe that when we spend more time with rivers, we become better stewards of rivers. Take a moment to see what your contribution will support in every whitewater region across the country in our 2018 Winter Update.
For the past few years, the staff of America Whitewater has joined with a number of our members to participate in a four-day float trip on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. This trip has been a great opportunity to connect with members in ways that build a lasting understanding of the role of recreation in fostering a stewardship ethic. As one of the original eight Wild and Scenic Rivers in the country, the Rogue is an outstanding classroom for American Whitewater’s river stewardship program.
American Whitewater joins the Outdoor Alliance, Access Fund, The Conservation Alliance, and Outdoor Industry Association in support of the proposed Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018. Legislators actively engaged the recreation community and AW has been working for several years to make sure the Act does as much as it can to protect whitewater recreation and rivers in Utah, including designating a section of the Green River as Wild and Scenic. We are happy to report that the bill is moving forward and that if passed will designate 63 miles of the Green River, including Labyrinth Canyon as a Wild and Scenic River.
Colorado Gives Day is on December 4 this year and is fast approaching! Go here to schedule your online donation to support American Whitewater's Colorado River Access Program. All donations made to American Whitewater on Colorado Gives Day (December 4) will be put towards our River Access Program in Colorado. American Whitewater works to improve river access and public safety throughout the state by working with landowners and managers, paddlers, law enforcement, and lawmakers to understand Colorado's river access laws and the ongoing threats to public safety. Thank you for your support!
Thanks to an organization wide effort to provide transparency and operate efficiently, Charity Navigator awarded American Whitewater with its ninth consecutive 4-star rating. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that American Whitewater adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. Only 2% of the nonprofits Charity Navigator rates have received nine consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that American Whitewater outperforms most other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates American Whitewater from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust and support.
Each year American Whitewater’s membership ratifies Board of Director members to serve three-year terms. These candidates volunteer to serve on the American Whitewater Board. Current American Whitewater members can cast their votes through Midnight Pacific Time, December 15th.
As the holiday season approaches, certain locales whitewater seasons are heating up, while in other regions, temperatures may be cooling and the temptation to cozy up inside and sip some warm cocoa might be starting to become a real threat. At American Whitewater we encourage you to sip that cocoa after you play outside. It just tastes so much better. That’s why day-in and day-out we’re working to provide more whitewater opportunities close to home, and why we are enthusiastically joining our partners at REI and asking you to #optoutside. Check out a few of the places you might find our staff and members out enjoying a day on the water.
American Whitewater has worked closely with the State of Maryland and the Town of Friendsville to maintain and improve access to the Upper Youghiogheny River since we started maintaining the Sang Run Access in 2001. Now the Town of Friendsville needs our help to finish the hardened part of the parking area. Some people are now parking on grass, which is not a long-term solution. The Town has raised $18,000 towards the work, matched by $2000 from town funds. They would like to raise $8,000 from the paddling community. A single new parking space costs $750. Can you help us? To chip in DONATE to American Whitewater today and put “Upper Yough Access 2018” in the comments box. Every little bit counts!!
Crested Butte CO - Alleged disruption to a Heron Rookery and concerned private landowners have led to a "Voluntary Closure" of the Slate River from the Gunsight Bridge to the Town of Crested Butte between March 15 and June 21 for the 2019 season. The Slate River between Oh Be Joyful Campground and Skyland Bridge, a 10.5 mile stretch, provides an incredibly scenic and unique flatwater paddling experience in the Gunnison Valley. The Voluntary clsoure is a product of the Slate River Floating Management Plan, created by a Working Group convened by the Town of Crested Butte and the Crested Butte Land Trust. The Working Group was created in direct response to pressure from the local community including conservationists and private landowners adjacent to the river, who are concerned that a recent increase in boating activity is disturbing a Heron Rookery that straddles the Slate River.
American Whitewater, along with our partners at California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and Trout Unlimited, are requesting remediation by Union Pacific Railroad of the ongoing and increasingly serious threat to public safety caused by the instability of the Railroad’s retaining wall and adjacent hill slope on the North Fork of the Feather River near Tobin, California. Flows in the 800 cfs range are expected to start on November 5th and stay high until a maintenance project on the Rock Creek and Cresta Dams are complete. Repairs are expected to finish by November 23rd for the Rock Creek Dam and November 30th for the Cresta Dam.
This year, the Army Corps of Engineers has added Russell Fork releases on the first two weekends of November as a pilot program, in addition to the standard four October weekends. Additional changes to the release program are under consideration. American Whitewater has worked with local partners to craft a survey to inform the decision-making process and support releases that maximize benefits for paddlers and local businesses. Click through to take the survey.
Aspen, CO - Dave Eckardt, otherwise known as “Dangerous Dave” of Aspen, Colorado passed away earlier this month. A hero in the Colorado kayaking community of the 1980's, Dave is known by many as the co-author of the first kayak "bible" Colorado Rivers and Creeks, and for his dominance at the Gore Canyon Races. Dave will be deeply missed.
This week American Whitewater kicked off our involvement with the relicensing of Felt Dam on the Teton River, near Tetonia, Idaho. The process will take several years and will result in a new 30-50 year license for this hydropower project, which bisects a Class V reach and a Class III(IV) reach of the Teton River.
There are two upcoming opportunities to have your voice heard on the future of the Saint Vrain Watershed. These are the first of many opportunities for the community to engage in the St. Vrain Left Hand Stream Management Plan (SMP) process. Join us for either or both events to learn more about the plan, provide input on your vision and values for the watershed, and identify opportunity areas. It's important for paddlers to show up and represent our interests in terms of identifying safety risks along the river such as low head dams, access areas, opportunites for artificial whitewater features and adequate flow levels for paddling. There is also this project survey that can be filled out if you are unable to attend either event.
Our partners at the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRLC) Need Your Help To Stop Centennial Dam by attending a rally and meeting next Tuesday, October 9th. Neveda Irrigation District (NID) will vote at a special meeting to cease spending on the dam proposal and focus on their Raw Water Master Plan (RWMP). Plans for the proposed Centennial Dam threaten 91 miles of whitewater resources on the Yuba River watershed and would permanently flood whitewater sections on the Bear River.
New limited edition American Whitewater 50th Anniversary Wild & Scenic Rivers Act gear available this week only! Shirts, tanks and hoodies for both ladies and men! Support wild rivers and earn style points at the same time. We're extremely excited to partner with FLOAT to bring this river stewardship supporting gear. For every item sold FLOAT donates $8+ to American Whitewater to help fund our stewardship programs. Head on over to FLOAT and shop today!
Glen Tsaparas of Falls Church, Virginia is the recipient of our Volunteer of the Month award after another year of generously sharing countless hours at American Whitewater’s biggest event of the year, Gauley Fest. Glen has been leading the Silent Auction team for over 15 years with his trusted paddling crew Jimmy, Shane and Liz. Glen has only missed two Gauley Fest’s in thirty years, has always been willing to go above and beyond, and is a lifetime member of American Whitewater.
Jeff Venturino is recognized as Volunteer of the Month for his outstanding work as the Volunteer Coordinator for American Whitewater's Feather River Festival! Recruiting and coordinating over 90 volunteers, Jeff also roped his Mom, Laura Montagna, into manning the ever important AW Membership Booth. Jeff is a Davis-based paddler, biologist, and seasonal kayak instructor for California Canoe and Kayak. He is passionate about enabling new lifelong paddlers and river advocates to help fight for free-flowing and beautiful rivers.
Paddlers now have an important opportunity to oppose Forest Service plans to strip proposed protections from 89 rivers in central Idaho. The Forest Service really needs to hear from paddlers from across the country and it takes just a few minutes to send them a letter. This is a big deal for almost 1,000 miles of outstanding whitewater rivers and streams.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, filmmaker Shane Anderson and Pacific Rivers, American Rivers and American Whitewater released the new film Run Wild, Run Free. The film tells the story of the origins of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the bi-partisan spirit that ushered the bill into law, and the courageous people that stood up and demanded protection for the remaining free-flowing and wild rivers. The film will be available online for a limited 3 day run.
The U.S. Forest Service has recently initiated a process to develop a Comprehensive River Management Plan for the 27 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and the entirety of the Pratt River that were designated Wild and Scenic in 2014. Paddlers are encourage to provide input online and/or attend the planning workshops planned for October 11th.
The Vermont Superior Court sided with American Whitewater in a long-running dispute with the state over whitewater boating on the Green River in Morrisville. The Court overturned state restrictions that would have eliminated any meaningful opportunity for boaters to enjoy this extraordinary river and required scheduled releases in a ground breaking decision.
We need your help to protect the San Joaquin River! The proposed Temperance Flat Dam would drown an incredible river canyon that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has already recommended for Wild and Scenic River designation. Despite the enormous price tag of at least $2.6 billion, according to the Bureau of Reclamation's preferred alternative for the project, the dam would only yield 70,000 acre-feet of water per year on average. Take action today.
For well over 20 years paddlers have sought improved access to a beautiful section of Daddy’s Creek flowing through Catoosa Wildlife Management Area near Crossville, TN. Daddy’s Creek only has enough water to float after significant rain, which typically happens in the fall, winter and spring. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) road and area closures related to hunting during this timeframe have limited paddling use. Earlier today TWRA notified American Whitewater of a recent decision to expand public access. We would like to thank the TWRA for supporting the Tennessee residents and visitors who cherish Daddy’s Creek, and we are grateful for TWRA’s partnership approach.
The September/October issue of the AW Journal is available in the "Library". This issue includes 'Celebrating 50 Years of Wild and Scenic Rivers’. Read the issue now online or download your copy.
The U.S. Department of the Interior has issued Bureau of Land Management (BLM) negotiated 4(e) conditions that ensure vital improvements at Ward’s Ferry Bridge, the take-out for the iconic Merals Pool run on the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River. Far from an ideal take-out, Ward's Ferry is the site of steep eroding pedestrian trails, rampart graffiti and a vandalized bathroom. American Whitewater believes the improvements mandated by the revised 4(e) condition will one day provide a take-out worthy of the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River.
American Whitewater is seeking an iOS developer to extend American Whitewater's existing iOS application. At the heart of our online river guide app is innovative crowdsourcing, rich mapping and photography, river safety advice, and engagement with conservation initiatives. An interest or experience in river recreation is a plus for this project, but not required.
The Feather River Festival will be September 21-23, 2018! This event is hosted by American Whitewater with a Bar-B-Que and party presented by the Chico Paddleheads. This is California’s biggest whitewater festival and is held annually on the fourth weekend in September to coincide with the Rock Creek Dam scheduled release. Come on out for multiple sections of excellent whitewater, guaranteed flows, and and awesome party.
American Whitewater is pleased to recognize Amy Howell as AW’s September Volunteer of the Month. Amy absolutely was our star volunteer at the Gore Canyon Festival this year. She was our first ever Volunteer Coordinator for the event and she worked tirelessly to help with pre-event volunteer coordination and job planning for our incredible group of volunteers. She also booked and coordinated the music for our event (her specialty) for free and manned the registration station all weekend long so that Nanette Johnson could finally go into the canyon and view the Gore Race for herself. Always in lookout for what needed to be done and where she could be useful all told Amy volunteered for over 30 hours!
Lyons, Colorado - The St. Vrain Creek on Colorado's northern Front Range is one of several Colorado streams now targeted for comprehensive management plans. American Whitewater is helping lead the effort, and a series of public and stakeholder meetings is underway this month. Your input can help decide how we can improve public access and safety, stream health, and connectivity between our communities - all critically important after the flooding of September 2013.
Today, September 5, marked the close of the public review process for the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report. The Evaluation Phase is the second step of 4 different steps required in the assessment of lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). American Whitewater thoroughly reviewed the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report and submitted our comments to the Forest Service on September 4, 2018. Overall, we found that key paddling reaches throughout the GMUG area were greatly under-represented in the Polygon narratives and thus weren't acknowledged as contributing factors to the Polygon's respective Wilderness Ratings. We let the Forest Service know this, highlighting specific paddling reaches that should be added to each Polygon and which Polygons we believe should have a higher Wilderness Rating based on the high-quality recreation opportunities that each area has to offer.
Please stay tuned as we continue to report on the GMUG Land Management Revision Process and in the meantime you can learn more about the GMUG here. (Photo of Josh King by Nick Spitzer)
Get your groove on baby! This year Gauley Fest is a 60’s themed event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. To memorialize that historic event we are flashing back to another era for a 60’s throwdown. 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.
Join American Whitewater on September 6, with the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed, American Rivers, and New Belgium Brewing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act! We’ll have swag giveaways and opportunities to take action on behalf of rivers near and far. Featuring the short film, PROTECTED: A Wild & Scenic River Portrait and $3 Fat Tire Amber Ale and Fat Tire Belgian White.
American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This letter will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River. Enjoy your paddling season on this classic whitewater river. As in past years, American Whitewater has leased the field above Masons Branch, also known as the Legg field, for overflow parking.
The Gore Canyon Festival is the premiere whitewater event in Colorado. Focused around the Class IV-V downriver race through Gore Canyon, GoreFest has brought the worlds elite whitewater athletes together for an awesome end to the Colorado boating season, but it also has events for everyone. From a family fun float through the class II/III Hartman Canyon (aka Little Gore Canyon), a freestyle rodeo at the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park, and SUP downriver and cross races to the party at Rancho del Rio feauturing camping, live music, movies, booths, food and drink, you're guaranteed to have a good time. To learn more go to our GoreFest18 page or check out our Facebook page.
American Whitewater is looking for information from paddlers that may have recently witnessed low-flying airplanes or helicopters over western rivers, so that we can share our members’ experience with the Federal Aviation Administration, Bureau of Land Management, and State agencies. Flying close to the river, surrounding terrain, or people on the river is prohibited.
Please take a moment to complete the following survey so that we can encourage compliance with these rules to ensure the safety of those on the water and ground.
American Whitewater is pleased to recognize Greg Lee, Rachel Jin and Alex Kerney as AW’s August Volunteers of the Month. This team worked together to create the new American Whitewater iOS app. The app is a great way to see which rivers are running near you and learn a bit about AW and it was an incredible gift to our organization and the paddling community. The app is a breeze to use, is getting great reviews, and we like it lot. Congratulations – and thanks!
August 2, 2018, the President's signature marked the exciting finale of nearly a decade of efforts to protect Montana's East Rosebud Creek from hydropower development and other impacts. Twenty miles of this beautiful stream were designated as a Wild and Scenic River as it flows from the rugged Beartooth Mountains between Big Timber and Red Lodge, Montana. East Rosebud is treasured by local residents, paddlers, anglers, hikers, and other visitors.
Over American Whitewater’s objections, Pacific Gas & Electric is again planning on a single four-day release on Pit 1 over the Columbus Day weekend. While we understand that this is their option per the language of the FERC license condition, we do not feel that PG&E's rationale for doing this again is in the spirit of the agreement negotiated during relicensing. Last year, the change by PG&E to move the fall releases to 4 consecutive days over Columbus Day weekend effectively reduced boating opportunity to two days since the overwhelming majority of paddlers could only boat on the weekend.
Submit your best photos for American Whitewater's annual calendar! It's super easy – just use our online submission form. Images must be submitted as high-resolution files (suitable for printing up to 10", at least 1MB) for inclusion in the calendar, without monetary compensation. Maximum 10 photo entries per person. We aim for diversity in seasons, boat types, river trip type, river difficulty, and geography. Got a snowy shot, fall leaves, or a steamy summer shot? How about photos of SUP, canoe tripping, or inflatables? Dont worry, we love kayaks too. Thanks!
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the creation of an endowment to promote safety education and outreach. The endowment will support “promoting whitewater safety, responsible on-river behavior, safety education and outreach, and maintenance of the American Whitewater Safety Code and Whitewater Accident Database.’ Anyone wishing to add to the fund can simply make a donation to American Whitewater here and include safety education in the comment field of the donation.
The Senate yesterday passed Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte’s bill that protects 20 miles of the East Rosebud in south-central Montana as part of the Wild and Scenic River System. Here at American Whitewater we are overjoyed by the bill's passage, and would like to thank the entire Montana delegation for working together in a bi-partisan way to protect this wonderful stream.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce that a free iPhone App is now available that shares realtime details on the over 5,500 whitewater runs in our National Whitewater Inventory. The new location-enabled app allows paddlers to learn about nearby rivers within a selected distance or state, and safely pick trips that meet their group’s skill level, flow preferences, and timeframe. It offers enhanced mapping and links paddlers to the rich crowd-sourced information and river-related news on the American Whitewater website.
As we head towards Upper Yough Race Day (July 29th) in Friendsville it's time to recognize some people who make access to the river easier. Thanks to Jess Whittemore the Town of Friendsville for creating the parking lot. Thanks to hundreds of paddlers who stay clear of residential areas on Water Street, patronize local businesses, and contribute to AW's Access Fund in Sang Run or on line. And a special thank you to Don Millard who has mowed the access areas in both Friendsville and Sang Run to keep our access costs low. If not for him you'd probably see a parking fee of $5 a head at both ends! Keep the good times coming! Don't forget to contribute!! Jeff Macklin photo.
American Whitewater is advocating for improved access conditions at New Bullards Bar Dam on California’s Yuba River. Access to the sections of whitewater below New Bullards Bar Dam involves putting in at the base of the Dam; a 0.75-mile-long, paved, private, gated road (posted “No Trespassing”) accesses the base of New Bullards Bar Dam. Absent legal access below the Dam, boaters are required to hike around the dam, scramble down a steep and unstable hillside or to hike in from side roads, which Yuba County Water Agency (YWCA) considers as trespassing on their lands.
On Tuesday July 17, 2018, the East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic River Act passed the United States House of Representatives, clearing a make-or-break hurdle on the way to becoming law. Designation would protect twenty miles of East Rosebud Creek from hydropower dams and other impacts as it flows on Federal lands from the spectacular Beartooth Mountains in Montana. This broadly supported bipartisan bill would create the first Wild and Scenic River in Montana since 1976, on this, the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Just like the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, the Salmon-Challis National Forest will determine which streams to protect for potential Wild and Scenic designation through their forest plan over the coming year. The Forest Service needs to receive compelling photos, videos, and personal stories featuring these streams. Deadline is July 16, which is coming up fast!
American Whitewater provided Scoping Comments this week on the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In our comments we highlighted the fact that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and specifically the Coastal Plain, is one of the last truly wild landscapes in the United States. Oil and gas development activities that impact the unique visual and aesthetic values of the landscape and opportunities for an unparalleled wilderness-quality backcountry recreation experience—that includes unique wildlife-viewing opportunities—are of concern.
Interested in what we're up to at American Whitewater in 2018? Check out our Spring Stewardship Update! Designating new Wild and Scenic rivers, removing dams, pushing back against bad hydropower policy, protecting access to our favorite runs, and much more – we're getting it done in 2018, but we can't do it without your help. This stewardship work is possible only through your support, and your financial contribution plays a vital role in our success.
American Whitewater is proud to recognize Tom Welander as June Volunteer Of The Month for his assistance analyzing data from our recent membership survey. He is a survey researcher with 25 years experience in the field. Tom's analysis was presented to the AW Board of Directors at a recent meeting and will be used in an upcoming strategic planning process.
From June 1st through the fall of this year, the Pine River (Florence, WI) will offer a rare opportunity for Wisconsin whitewater. During the maintenance drawdown, no water will be diverted around Breakwater Falls and gorge-rapids below the Pine Dam. The 12-foot lowering of water level, (started 5/21) will also expose additional rapids and both twin falls just upriver from the flowage.
The Bureau of Land Management is considering exchanging nearly 1500 acres of public lands to a private ranch along Colorado's Blue River. The proposal claims to improve public access to recreation opportunities along the river. This week, the BLM released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for this proposal, which initiates a 45-day public comment period.
Your comments to the BLM on the proposal, will help the agency determine whether the exchange in in the public’s interest, or not. The BLM must receive comments by June 25.
Kittitas County has released a survey to gather input and data on how people are using the various portions of the Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers. It also seeks information from participants as to what improvements would be appropriate. The survey is part of an ongoing effort to develop a strategy for improving access along both river corridors. We encourage paddlers who paddle the Cooper, Cle Elum, and Yakima Rivers to take this survey.
Earlier today Duke Energy announced the pending sale of five hydropower dams in western North and South Carolina to Northbrook Energy. The pending sale includes the Tuxedo Hydropower Project, which regulates flows in the popular Green River below Lake Summit. Recreational releases and flow information will be continued under new ownership through a non-regulatory approach based on collaboration with American Whitewater and other leaders in the paddling community.
Earlier today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released their decision and accompanying final analysis regarding the future of dam releases on the wildly popular Ocoee River. TVA decided to provide a flow schedule nearly identical to the current schedule on both the Middle and Upper Ocoee. Doing so will foster the robust recreation-based economy that relies on the river, and will protect existing ecological and recreational values.
Washington, DC – Today, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative John Curtis (UT-3) introduced the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018, a historic conservation bill protecting over one million acres of public land, and 98 miles of Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers in Utah’s Emery County. American Whitewater worked to ensure that the Green River, Muddy Creek, and the San Rafael are protected under the legislation.
Salt Lake City - The State of Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (FFSL) is developing the first comprehensive management plans (CMPs) for state-owned sections of the Colorado and Green Rivers, and updating the existing Mineral Leasing Plan (MLP) for these sovereign lands. Paddlers are encouraged to attend.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Department of Natural Resources Library, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddle for a cause this summer in beautiful central Idaho! The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest will determine which streams to protect for potential Wild and Scenic designation through their forest plan over the coming year. Many of the streams under consideration are exceptional in part because they are remote and hard to access. That is where you come in. The Forest Service, the public, and politicians need to receive compelling photos, videos, and personal stories featuring these streams. If you are planning a trip into the wilds of Idaho this summer, you can help protect some amazing streams by sharing your experiences.
American Whitewater continues to play an important role in negotiating and implementing the recreational flows provided by hydropower licenses throughout California. Here are some of the scheduled recreational releases for 2018. Enjoy!
Spring is in the air and as another great paddling season comes into focus, we hope that you'll consider making a contribution to American Whitewater on GiveBig Day – Wednesday, May 9. GiveBIG is a one day event through the Seattle Foundation that makes your donation to American Whitewater go further.
The May/June issue of the AW Journal is available in the "Library". This issue
includes 'Kids and Whitewater. . .fun for all ages on the
water! Read the issue now online or download your copy.
Current members - Read the issue now!
Not a current member - Join or Renew!
We still have space available for our annual Rogue River trip with Northwest Rafting Company. Come out and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act with American Whitewater staff and similar likeminded river lovers. For the past few years, the staff of America Whitewater has joined with a number of our members to participate in a four-day float trip on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. This trip has been a great opportunity to connect with members in ways that build a lasting understanding of the role of recreation in fostering a stewardship ethic.
May 5th is Cheatfest Weekend; it's also the first Saturday Upper Yough release of 2018. If water levels coopperate hundreds of white water paddlers will converge on this fabulous class IV-V run and the small town of Friendsville, MD. American Whitewater maintains access points at Sang Run and Friendsville to make getting on the water easy. We remind everyone that we are guests in this beautiful town. Please be courteous when using the parking area. Don't drink alcohol in public, change clothes, or relieve yourself where others can see you. Use the change house and the porta john! If you witness disrespectful behavior, please tell the offender to stop it immediately! Stay on the gravel in the parking lot as much as you can; the perimeter can be torn up after rainstorms. Don't park in residential areas along the river. And contribute to our access work by leaving a few bucks at the Sang Run collection box to pay for the porta-potty and grass cutting. Have a great run and take time to patronize the businesses in town who are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
American Whitewater is proud to recognize attorney Ryan Kane and the Law Firm of Tarrant, Gillies & Richardson for their extraordinary effort to protect whitewater boating on the Green River in Vermont. The firm tirelessly and skillfully represented AW and Vermont Paddlers Club during a 2-week trial in April on their appeal to the Vermont Superior Court of state restrictions on whitewater releases from the hydropower project on the Green River.
American Whitewater works to protect the public's rights (your rights) related to recreational use of private and public lands which the nation’s rivers and streams run through. Fortunately for whitewater paddlers and other recreational users, every state in the nation has enacted laws that greatly limit both private and public landowner liability. In Washington state one of these recreational use immunity laws was challenged when a cyclists was injured on public land. American Whitewater joined with a coalition of recreation groups to enter a, “friend of the court” or amicus brief, urging the Washington state Supreme Court to uphold the law. We’re proud to report that in a unanimous decision, the Court affirmed that Washington’s recreational use immunity law covers any lands opened for free public use, regardless of if the land in question is used solely for recreational use or if the land has been opened up to other uses.
THIS WEEK ONLY! American Whitewater is happy to announce that we have partnered with FLOAT to bring you limited edition Nankoweap granaries trail inspired river stewardship T shirts and hoodies available this week only! For every shirt sold FLOAT will donate $8 to American Whitewater to help us restore rivers. Head on over to www.float.org and shop today – lots of styles and colors to choose from!
Gateway, CO - This week, a Colorado water court approved instream flow water rights protecting up to 900cfs during peak flows on a 33-mile stretch of the lower Dolores River. The State applied for these rights in 2015, and the court approval creates the largest flow protection for the Dolores.
(Pilar, NM) Mother's Day Rio Grande Whitewater Races, the second oldest, organized river race in the country, will once again host kayakers and rafters, canoeists, spectators, campers, and Dutch Oven Cook-off competitors, from May 11 to 13. The races will be held on the 4.5-mile, Class III section of the rio Grande known as the "Racecourse", which begins just south of Taos, in Pilar, and runs along NM State Road 68. The three-day event is being hosted by the New Mexico River Outfitters Association, The Adobe Whitewater Club, American Whitewater, and the American Canoe Association.
Take the Verde River (AZ) Optimal Flow Survey! Help the University of Arizona and the Forest Service determine what minimum river flows are appropriate to sustain and protect high-quality recreation experience opportunities on the Verde. http://bit.ly/2GuJOS8
Our friends at California Canoe & Kayak are ready for the 6th Annual Opening Day on the South Fork American River benefitting American Whitewater – are you? Sponsored by Jackson Kayak and Ninkasi Brewery, this year’s Opening Day proceeds will be specifically earmarked for legal efforts to improve safety and conditions at Ward’s Ferry Bridge (the take-out for the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River). Come join in the fun!
It's that time of year folks! Colorado Event Season is soon upon us. Whether you've been training all winter in preparation or whether you just enjoy a good show and boating with your friends, these classic Colorado river events are not to miss!
In addition to the many whitewater festivals that American Whitewater partners with in Colorado, we are excited to announce that AW is hosting Gore Fest again this year! We hope to see you at Rancho Del Rio on August 24 - 26. Stay tuned for more details on race registration, entertainment, and volunteer opportunities.
American Whitewater is searching for a Membership Director to begin work in the fall of 2018. This is a once in a decade opportunity to join the full-time staff working in a fulfilling and highly productive work environment. It’s a big job for the right membership services guru.
Browns Park, Utah - American Whitewater has asked the Utah Division of Water Resources to reject the latest attempt to pump water from Utah's Green River, and send it across the Rocky Mountains to Denver and Colorado's Front Range. The Water Rights Export Application is speculative and assumes availability of water with no consideration of impacts to downstream needs. In its letter, American Whitewater urges the Division to act with prudence and reject the application.
Rejecting the idea that their hydroelectric project causes any impact at Ward's Ferry Bridge, Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts filed a request for trial-type hearing before an administrative law judge that challenges the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary conditions to improve the long-standing whitewater take-out for the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River.
This past fall American Whitewater met with Ohiopyle State Park managers to discuss possible updates to their whitewater paddling regulations. The first topic was to change the rules governing raft sizes at different water levels to recognize the capabilities of self-bailing rafts. Shorter self-bailing boats will now be allowed to run the river at high water. Some small changes to the regulations will make Ohiopyle Falls more accessible to paddlers. A change in the way the gauge is interpreted should make the falls "legal" on more days. Although whitewater paddlers are only one part of the vast public that visits the park, every effort was made to accommodate them while avoiding user conflicts and safety hazards. Special thanks goes to Ken Bisbee, Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager and John Hallas, a former Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager who is now Director of State Parks. Click here to read the updated Ohiopyle River Regulations:
The State of Utah is developing the first comprehensive management plans for state-owned sections of the Colorado and Green Rivers, and updating the existing Mineral Leasing Plan for these state lands. This effort will determine how these rivers are managed and where mining, oil, gas, and hydrocarbon leases will be allowed. Paddlers are encouraged to speak up!
Time is running out for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) to consider the South Umpqua for designation as a State Scenic Waterway, but it’s not too late. Your voice can help support the agency in taking steps to protect this river in 2018. With its free-flowing waters and exceptional scenic, natural and recreational values, the South Umpqua meets the criteria for designation as a State Scenic Waterway.
Conditions in the Dolores River basin this year are 38% of average for this time of year. Without additional snow storms, this number is likely to drop and there won’t be water available for boating releases. If the trend continues into April-June, there will be no water available for boating or the downstream environment.
Arkansas River, Colorado - The latest lawsuit over who owns the bed of a river, this time on the Arkansas River, resurrects an issue that many western states are tackling: does a river used for commercial purposes at the time of statehood grant the public rights to use the river for recreational purposes?
Reprinted from Water Education Colorado
News Release: March 16, 2018 – River advocacy groups filed a petition in federal court today against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) challenging its recent decision to extend construction deadlines on the Enloe Hydroelectric Project on the Similkameen River in north central Washington. Through the petition the groups seek to ensure FERC complies with clear requirements of the Federal Power Act and allows for meaningful public participation when making its decisions.
Northeast boaters! Here's your 2018 release schedule for the Moose, Black, Beaver and Raquette. Our upstate New York Rivers offer some of the best paddling anywhere. AW was instrumental in negotiating settlement agreements that made these releases possible.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest has produced a draft Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Report as part of their forest plan revision process. The public can comment on the eligibility report in support of the Forest Service protecting a suite of streams as "eligible" for future Wild and Scenic designation. This week, American Whitewater submitted our own comments, and we encourage paddlers to explore the Forest Service's proposed river protections and send in a comment.
American Whitewater is pleased to share that we were recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to support professional facilitation for the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership. The Partnership is made up of a diverse range of regional interest groups working together to create a shared vision for the future management of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests.
The March/April issue of the AW Journal is available in the "Library". This issue features ‘Does Hydropower Have a Place in the Renewable Energy Future? Read the issue now online or download your copy.
American Whitewater is an organization that prides ourselves on getting work done, both effectively and efficiently. Eighty-one cents of every dollar we see goes directly to our stewarship work, and in 2017 we succeeded in turning that work into favorable outcomes on projects across the country. For a concise and graphic look at the work we accomplished together last year, check out this one page document that will be a part of our 2017 Annual Report – Our Work Together in 2017.