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.
AW has been in touch with True Adventure Sports, who have acquired access rights at the Mill Hole put in for Johnnies Creek. We are pleased to share an update the we worked with TAS to share with the paddling community.
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.
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.
Federal regulators recently gave Duke Energy the green light to move forward on the Catawba-Wateree recreation management plan. The plan includes public recreation requirements and agreements included in the new 40-year license FERC issued in 2015 for the Catawba-Wateree’s Hydroelectric Project. The project encompasses nearly 1,800 miles of shoreline along 11 reservoirs and multiple river reaches in nine counties in North Carolina and five in South Carolina. Projects include new picnic facilities, fishing piers, swim beaches, campgrounds, expanded parking, restrooms and additional boating access areas.
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 are part of a process to schedule these releases in an integrated manner that aims to maximize their recreational value. Check out the outstanding line up for 2018.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has released their Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the future of the Ocoee River. The news is generally good. They support the continuation of the historic flow schedule on both the Middle and Upper Ocoee River, minus 5 September weekdays on the Middle. The DEA finds that the releases benefit the local economy and at least one rare plant living on rocks in the riverbed. File a comment or join TVA at a meeting next Monday if you would like to share your thoughts.
Check out a quick video update from the Great Falls of the Catawba, 11 years after American Whitewater joined a group of 70 organizations, agencies, and individuals in signing a Settlement Agreement that will shape the management of the Catawba River for the next 30-50 years.
Paddlers might have noticed that flow releases on the Cheoah River were getting a bit skinny over the past couple years, until the juicy release this September. At the urging of American Whitewater, the dam owner had USGS come out and recalibrate the gage this July, and the results confirmed the dam owner had been under-releasing by approximately 100-150cfs. In our annual planning meeting last week, they committed to adjusting their releases to comply with their federal license, and actually began the new release protocols in September.
The Russell Fork (VA & KY) is one of the classic Class V creek runs in the United States. The river is run year round and relies on a combination of natural flow and dam release from the Flanagan Reservoir on the Pound River. The Russell Fork Rendezvous will be taking place on October 27 - 29. Proceeds from the event go to support American Whitewater river stewardship. T shirts are now available for purchase now.
The time is here for you to submit your favorite river photos for the 2018 AW Calendar! You have until August 6th, 2017 to upload your best photos. We look forward to reviewing all kinds of great photos this year from across the United States, and will be giving special consideration of shots of Wild and Scenic Rivers since 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. If your photo is selected you'll get a free calendar, credit, fame, and you'll be supporting American Whitewater! Thanks from all of us at AW.
Earlier today American Whitewater filed comments on the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) proposal to largely maintain the existing whitewater release schedule for the next 15 years. American Whitewater asks TVA in our comments to ensure that no net loss in releases occur and that no new fees be imposed on private boaters. We ask that they study the economic benefit of the Ocoee River release program, as well as consider the benefits the releases are known to have on a rare plant species. Lastly, we ask them to consider improved takeout facilities on the Middle Ocoee River and expanded put-in parking hours on the Upper Ocoee.
The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests will hold open houses at district offices in June and July 2017 to provide the public with opportunities to talk with Forest staff about local issues, district project, and forest plan revision. We encourage paddlers to go chat up your local ranger at one of these meetings and offer your perspective. American Whitewater has been working with the US Forest Service (FS) and a diverse range of regional groups for the past 3 years to develop a new management plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests in Western North Carolina. It is coming along well, and your involvement could help make it even better.
Earlier this year, Georgia Power cancelled two weekends of recreational releases on Tallulah Gorge because of emergency mechanical repairs required on the dam's gates. Representatives of the Atlanta Whitewater Club, American Whitewater, Georgia Canoeing Association, Georgia Power, and the Tallulah Gorge State Park met in May to discuss rescheduling the releases. Agreement was reached and recently finalized, based on a suite of constraints, to make the lost releases up on December 9 and 10, 2017 and April 21 and 22, 2018.
TVA is seeking public input on a proposed management agreement that would provide recreational releases and management on the Ocoee River. Current agreements on flow releases and management expire at the end of 2018, and this effort aims to replace those agreements. The TVA proposes to continue the current schedule of releases on the Upper and Middle Ocoee except for a block of weekday Middle Ocoee releases in late September. The public comment period ends on July 19, 2017.
This May 5-7th, 2017, American Whitewater will be at the 20th annual French Broad River Festival in Hot Springs, NC. Proceeds for the event get donated to American Whitewater and other non-profits. The French Broad River Fest has donated a huge amount to American Whitewater over the past 20 years so come on an out and have a great time showing your support!
A bill has been introduced in the Tennessee Legislature that aims to continue treasured recreational releases on the Ocoee River after current release agreements expire in March of 2019. The Ocoee River Recreation and Economic Development Fund Act would create a fund that would be used to pay the Tennessee Valley Authority for releases and to pay for other river management costs. Paddlers from TN can weigh in on the bill now, and all paddlers will have a chance to voice support or concerns with the TVA this spring or summer.
Southern Company announced today that they are cancelling (eg postponing) the spring recreational releases on the Tallulah Gorge. The cancellation occured because they decided to conduct emergency maintenance work on a spillway gate atop their 103 year old dam. Southern Company is required to reschedule these releases as soon as practicable by their federal license and the related settlement agreement with American Whitewater and other groups.
Federal decision makers are accepting comments on their plans for the New River Dries until January 8th. American Whitewater has proposed a schedule of 41 annual releases that will be great for the river, paddlers, and other stakeholders. Individuals are encouraged to comment, as are clubs and businesses.
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. Enjoy these incredible opportunities, and be safe out there!
The decades-old agreements between rafting outfitters and the Tennessee Valley Authority that provide for recreational water releases in the Upper and Middle Ocoee River will expire in 2018. TVA and the outfitters have been attempting to negotiate a new agreement for many months, and thus far no agreement has been reached. This week, American Whitewater and several regional affiliate clubs requested inclusion in those talks to represent our interests in the Ocoee River continuing to be a recreational treasure and economic boon to the region.
Paddlers have successfully helped to defend the public right to float rivers and streams in South Carolina. In a decision released late last week, a South Carolina court rejected an attempt to privatize a section of the South Fork of the Saluda River known as Blythe Shoals. The Court ruled that the entire river – rapids and all – is navigable and shall remain open to recreational paddling. This is great news for South Carolina river enthusiasts!
American Whitewater is accepting photos for our 2017 Calendar now through August 1, 2016. Submitting photos through our online form is simple, and we can't wait to see your best shots. Thanks to all of our contributors!
Immediately downstream of the New River Gorge, a beautiful 5.5-mile section of the New River has been dewatered for generations. Paddlers call this reach the New River Dries, and know it for the huge surf waves that form at high water. The Hawks Nest hydroelectric project removes 10,000cfs from the Dries, leaving only 100cfs except when high flows overwhelm the dam. The relicensing of the dam offers a once-in a lifetime opportunity to restore flows to the New River. American Whitewater filed comments today with federal regulators outlining our vision.
Soak Creek has been named Tennessee's newest Scenic River—the first to earn the designation in 15 years. A tributary of the Piney River, this free-flowing creek serves as critical habitat for the iconic species of the Cumberland Plateau and provides a wide range of outdoor opportunities for all ages as it winds through a scenic gorge and along the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park. The designation helps to formalize the work local landowners, nonprofit groups and state agencies have done to ensure the public has access to this pristine natural treasure for generations to come.
We are pleased to recognize Edgar Peck as the Volunteer of the Month for February. Edgar facilitated a successful effort to buy a new put-in on the classic Watauga River near Boone, North Carolina. Together with the take-out AW owns, the public is now guaranteed permanent access to the outstanding Watauga River.
This week marked a major milestone in our efforts to protect Western North Carolina streams using the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. American Whitewater and numerous paddlers wrote to the Forest Service to share the exemplary values of the region's whitewater gems and to argue for their full protection. We would like to thank all the paddlers that attended a public meeting or wrote an email to the Forest Service.
Tis the season when American Whitewater works with power companies and other groups to schedule the coming year's dam releases in the Southeast. In addition to hundreds of releases on Class I-III rivers like the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, and Catawba, we put together an outstanding integrated schedule of Class IV and V opportunities. Check it out!
Paddlers now have the chance to help protect Western North Carolina's best whitewater runs from dams and other impacts. The Forest Service is accepting public comments in support of WNC rivers and creeks' eligibility for Wild and Scenic designation. No one knows our streams like paddlers, and our community is in a unique position to speak to what makes these streams special. Explore a map of potentially eligible rivers, submit comments, and consider attending a public meeting.
If you would like to see flows restored to the New River Dries, now is a very important time for you to let federal regulators (FERC) know your thoughts. The power company has proposed zero releases, and no vehicular access to the top of the run in their Draft License Application. American Whitewater is asking for releases and access, but it is important for individual paddlers to make their voices heard too. Send your comments in no later than 10/31/15.
Virginia officials have confirmed that they consider Johns Creek and several other whitewater streams navigable and public unless proven otherwise. This is a common sense approach that respects the rights of citizens that own property adjacent to rivers, as well those who wish to rightfully enjoy those public rivers and streams. Legal challenges are possible though, and we encourage caution, discretion, and respect within the paddling community as this exciting development plays out.
Volunteers are needed to paddle the Pee Dee River between Tillery Dam and the Highway 109 Access Area (12 miles) in support of a recreational flow releases study hosted by Duke Energy. The river is flatwater and flows through the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge, and is located east of Charlotte, NC.
American Whitewater is accepting photos for our 2016 Calendar now through August 1, 2015. Submitting photos through our online form is simple, and we can't wait to see your best shots. Thanks to all of our contributors!
Two Savage River recreational whitewater releases are sponsored by the Adventuresport Program at Garrett College in McHenry, MD this year: Sunday, July 5 and Saturday, September 26. Permission to use the take-out over VERSO property for future events depends on paddlers utilizing the shuttle, so please participate in this great service. Come visit the Savage and find out what the excitement is about!
The Forest Service released their decision yesterday to formalize roughly 1.5 miles of existing undesignated trails and build less than 1000 feet of new trails to improve access to the Upper Chattooga River for all visitors. This step is well within their normal range of management actions and begins the process of bringing the trail system in the river corridor up to modern standards.
The current agreement for water in the Ocoee River with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) expires in 2018. A new agreement is needed. TVA is exempt from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s requirements because of its uniques structure as a quasi federal agency. Write your representatives today supporting a legislative solution that would require water for releases.
The first two weekends in April mark classic boating in the southeast with releases on the Tallulah River. The river flows through Tallulah Gorge State Park, the Park has specific regulations for visitors.
Join American Whitewater at the French Broad River Festival May 1 - 3. Each year the festival features a host of awesome musical acts, art, food, vendors, and raft race. Proceeds from the event support American Whitewater river stewardship projects.
Last week the State of South Carolina issued the final permit that Duke Energy needed before the federal government could issue them a new license for operating their dams. With a new license now expected sometime this year, paddlers can start gearing up for some big changes in the Catawba Watershed including new conservation opportunities, access areas, water releases, and stream gages.
We are pleased to share the 2015 schedule of Class IV and V scheduled dam releases for Western North Carolina and North Georgia. American Whitewater and our partners negotiated these releases over the past two decades, and the result is 34 days of outstanding paddling opportunities for advanced paddlers on the Cheoah, Tallulah, Upper Nantahala, and West Fork of the Tuckasegee.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has released their draft management plan for the Green River Gamelands in North Carolina. This plan addresses all uses and activities in the iconic Green River Narrows, as well as the Class III+ Upper Green and the Class II Lower Green. This place and this plan are important to many paddlers in the southeast and across the globe. You can review the plan, and send in a comment by January 16th, 2015.
Last week the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the case over the Forest Service’s 2012 decision to implement restrictions on paddling the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. Conservation-oriented paddlers, Georgia Forest Watch, and the Rust Family had asked the court to overturn various portions of a lower court decision that favored the Forest Service. These requests were denied, and the lower court ruling was upheld by the Fourth Circuit.
The Forest Service is seeking comments on their Environmental Assessment and proposal to upgrade and designate the trails and access areas that paddlers and others use to access the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. Comments are due by midnight, November 7, 2014. Your comments can help encourage high quality and sustainable hiking and paddling opportunities, and help clarify that no permit should be requied to paddle the Chattooga River upstream of Green Creek.
The first three weekends in November mark classic boating in the southeast with releases on the Tallulah River. Release weekends are November 1 & 2, 8 & 9, and 15 & 16. The river flows through Tallulah Gorge State Park, the Park has specific regulations for visitors.
American Whitewater and Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) partner to present the new DamNation film produced by Patagonia at NOC’s main campus in on the Nantahala (NC) on Saturday, August 16, at 8:30 p.m.
Help protect rivers in Western North Carolina! On Thursday, July 10, 2014, the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests will be hosting a meeting in Asheville to solicit public input on their current Forest Planning effort. A lunch-time Wild and Scenic River session will be offered for people to recommend new protections and improved management. You can expect a poster or two to check out, a friendly Forest Service staffer to chat with, and some comment cards to fill out. There may be no easier way to save rivers on your lunch break!
Come out and join the American Whitewater Board of Directors and staff for a boater happy hour on Saturday, May 17th from 5:00-7:00 pm at Nantahala Outdoor Center's Kleinrath Hall.
Dates for the New River Dries Paddling Flow Study have been confirmed for May 6 and 7, 2014. Volunteer paddlers with suitable (Class IV) skills are encouraged to participate in the study, and to RSVP.
Support American Whitewater and enjoy good music at the 2nd Annual Long Creek Music Festival in Long Creek, SC this May 23rd -25th, 2014.
2014 marks the second year of restored paddling opportunities on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee. The first of 7 releases this year will be on April 19 and 20, and we would like to share some important facts and lessons we’ve learned about the river to help paddlers know what to expect. First and foremost, be aware that this run requires Class IV/V skills and a commitment consistent with wilderness rivers given the remote nature of the gorge and private property.
The first two weekends in April are scheduled Tallulah releases, a stape of the southeast boating community. On Saturday 500 cfs is released and on Sunday 700 cfs.
Paddlers that run the New River Dries (WV) between now and July 31, 2014 are encouraged to fill out a flow study survey after each day on the water. Submitting surveys will add important data to the Extended Whitewater Evaluation Study and will greatly help American Whitewater and others negotiate improved flows for the New River Dries.
American Whitewater is excited to attend the 17th Annual French Broad River Fest in Hot Springs, NC this May 2-4, 2014. Pick up your tickets today and come join us! AW will be there spreading the good word about our river stewardship programs and selling Memberships. We hope to see you there!
In July of last year a natural high flow event occurred on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee, which had significant effects on wood in the river. These effects were overwhelmingly positive for paddlers, as high flow events tend to move pieces of wood to channel margins and into large accumulations. With this said, the new patterns may pose isolated navigational hurdles or hazards, and have negatively affected some landowners. On March 29 and 30 paddlers will gather to conduct some limited management of problem pieces of wood in the West Fork.
Great News! Yesterday, Virginia's "Freedom to Float" bill passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. The bill could now move to the full VA Senate for a vote as early as Tuesday of next week (1/28/14). It is more important than ever that every paddler that enjoys Virginia rivers contact state Senators.
Five days before Christmas, a Limited Liability Corporation initiated a lawsuit in South Carolina asking the court to declare a section of the South Fork of the Saluda River non-navigable. American Whitewater and the Foothills Paddling Club have filed a motion to intervene in the case to defend the public's right to paddle this river and others.
If you want to help improve the stream access situation in Virginia, here is your chance! Virginia Senator David W. Marsden (D) has introduced a stream access bill, SB 629, with broad support from the paddling community. Call or email the Senators on the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources as soon as possible. This bill could see a hearing as soon as Thursday of this week (1/23), so time is of the essence.
American Whitewater has consistently worked to restore flows to rivers in the Southeast that were previously de-watered by hydropower operations. In addition to vast opportunities for beginners and intermediates, we have helped create an incredible series of advanced paddling opportunities on the Tallulah, Cheoah, Nantahala, and West Fork of the Tuckasegee. Check out the awesome schedule for 2014!
Recent high flows have moved wood and even boulders around in the West Fork of the Tuckasegee, requiring extra caution during this weekend's recreational release. A previously cancelled release has been rescheduled for August 11, making a two-day weekend of releases.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is hosting a public meeting to discuss a new management plan for the Green River Gamelands on the evening of August 1, 2013. The new plan will inform how the Green River is protected and managed for at least the next decade. The meeting announcement specifically welcomes kayakers and other recreationists to attend the meeting and offer their opinions.
Duke Energy is cancelling the planned recreation release for the bypass section of the Tuckasegee River (NC) scheduled for July 6, 2013 becasue of high flow conditions.
American Whitewater is proud to announce our June 2013 Volunteers of the Month: Chris Donochod, Justyn Thompson, Mark Mickey, Matt Kern, and Sid Border! These five fine folks are the team behind French Broad River Fest a music event that celebrates the French Broad River in NC and raises an average of $5,000 for American Whitewater and other local NC non-profits each year. In recognition of all their hard work, the whole crew will be receiving a custom Kokatat WoolCore shirt! Thanks guys!
Earlier this month American Whitewater filed comments on the "assessment phase" of the forest planning process for the two National Forests in Western North Carolina. We offered information on rivers that are regulated by hydropower dams, as well as advocating for protection of the region's remaining wild and free-flowing rivers.
Teams of canoes and decked boats will compete in river rescue events on the Tuckasegee River in Dillsboro, NC.
Last week a federal judge ruled in favor of the US Forest Service in the case regarding the management of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River. The decision upholds the current USFS policy of allowing paddling December through April, above 350cfs, on 15 miles of the 21-mile-long upper Chattooga. While the legal decision is a disappointment, this new management plan is clearly a victory for the paddling community, and is the direct result of over 15 years of advocacy that included an active legal strategy.
Tallulah releases for spring 2013 are going to be held on April 6, 7 and 13, 14. Releases begin at 9:30 am and all boaters must start down the stairs by 3:00 pm to beat the flow down to the lake. Releases on Saturday are 500 cfs and Sunday releases are 700 cfs.
In a bipartisan effort last month, the Senate introduced the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2013 (S.338). The Land and Water Conservation Fund has supported many projects that provide access and protect important rivers, including the White Salmon (WA), New and Gauley (WV), Illinois (OR) and Snake (ID). If passed, the bill will reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and support similar projects into the future.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the 2013 schedule of releases for the typically de-watered West Fork of the Tuckasegee River, located near Glenville, North Carolina. These releases are the direct result of negotiations between American Whitewater, our affiliate clubs, Duke Energy and other regional stakeholders.
Yesterday a landmark stream recreation bill for the commonwealth of Virginia was reported out of subcommittee and will now go to the full Senate for a vote. The vote could come as early as next week, and supportive paddlers are encouraged to call their Senators as soon as possible. This is the closest the public has come to gaining clarity on our rights to float down Virginia's rivers in a very long time.
The lack of clarity regarding the rights of residents and visitors to paddle Virginia's certain rivers and streams has long been an unnecessary source of conflict. Virginians are now ready to change that by clarifying that in Virginia people have the widely supported right to float down rivers. Thanks to this grassroots effort, a new stream access bill has recently been introduced in the state legislature that needs your support.
Yesterday a hearing was held in US District Court in South Carolina regarding the Forest Service's illegal bans and severe limits on paddling 21 miles of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River. The Judge ruled in favor of conservation-oriented paddlers and charted a schedule to resolve the case early next year.
The first season of legal paddling on portions of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River since 1976 is nearly upon us. The Forest Service will begin allowing paddling on December 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013, under various restrictions. This article will help you jump through all the hoops and enjoy the river!
The Upper Nantahala River and Cascades releases mandated from FERC Relicensing of the Nantahala River will begin September 29-30, 2012. Endless Rivers Adventures and the Nantahala Outdoor Center will provide free shuttles to boat launch areas on the bypass sections. All paddlers and spectators are asked to use these shuttles as key access points will be closed to parking to provide for put-in and take-out locations on the river sections.
A decision made earlier this month by the Washington Office of the US Forest Service officially ends the agency’s consideration of recreational management on the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. The decision marks the final Agency green light allowing the public to paddle a 15-mile portion of the Upper Chattooga River this winter for the first time in 36 years!
The public review and comment period for the draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Public Access Plan has been extended until September 14, 2012. The plan was developed in response to an Executive Order signed by President Obama, and aims to increase public access to the Bay and tributaries by adding 300 new public access sites by 2025.
The Mayor and Town Council of Friendsville, Maryland recently sent AW an open letter of thanks in response to an outpouring of donations and support for their development of a new public take-out for the Upper Youghiogheny River in their Town. AW helped collect donations from the paddling community, and we are pleased to pass this thank-you on to the many paddlers that contributed to this cause - your donations were greatly appreciated!
In the midst of the controversial paddling ban and capacity consideration on the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River, the Forest Service is proposing to jointly develop a “farmstead” on the banks of the disputed section of river with a private non-profit partner organization. This proposed new use of the Wild and Scenic River Corridor, in a reach heavily stocked with non-native trout and deemed to have zero capacity to support floating, is raising eyebrows and drawing comments from many Chattooga River stakeholders.
The first ever scheduled recreational releases on the upper Nantahala River will occur on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30, 2012, near Wesser, North Carolina. The releases were negotiated by AW and a diverse group of local and regional stakeholders between 2001 and 2003 to mitigate the recreational impacts of flow reductions associated with operation of the powerhouse.
Dartmouth College's Ledyard Canoe Club, a sub club of the Dartmouth Outing Club, will be hosting it's 4th annual River Festival April 12th-15th. For further details on the events, times, and locations please visit www.dartmouth.edu/~lcc/riverfest. Inquiries or other items can be emailed to LCC@dartmouth.edu. Ledyard Canoe Club will be graciously donating the profits from their River Festival to American Whitewater. Thanks!
The US Forest Service has granted a stay request reversing their decision to allow limited boating on the upper segment of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River (SC, GA, NC).
It has been a big week for the management of the Chattooga River. The USFS released plans to allow paddling on a portion of the river beginning as early as this weekend if a laundry list of conditions are met. Conservation-oriented paddlers appealed the new decision that unlawfully limits paddling, and anti-paddling groups may request a stay in the coming days that if granted would prevent paddling. The mismanagement of the Chattooga is also likely to go to trial by year end.
Chris Gragtmans, of TerraVida Threads, recently approached us with a cool challenge he's participating in to raise money for American Whitewater and other great non-profits. Check out the challenge page for full details or read the rest of this article for complete details. Thanks for the support Chris!
AW is pleased to announce the release of our technical stream modification guide offering specific considerations to help projects meet recreational objectives as well as primary engineering or habitat objectives. This guide is intended to help paddlers advocate for safer stream modification projects that fully support the restoration, protection, and public enjoyment of rivers and streams.
Spring Tallulah (GA) release are on track for the first and second weekends of April. Release dates are April 7, 8 and 14, 15. Releases on
Tellico Plains was hit really hard by a tornado last Friday. It ripped through a gas station and destroyed a campground on the gorge side of town then roared uphill. Sixty-seven homes were badly damaged. The Atlanta Whitewater Club has coordinated with Mayor Patrick Hawkins to help with the cleanup this Saturday, March 10th. Meet at the Tellico Plains Community Center across from Hardees at 9:00 AM. The Rescue Squad will manage the operation and put everyone to work. It's a great way to help one of the small mountain communities paddlers depend on. Click through for a paddler contact and be there if you can.
Two federal court decisions issued in recent days favor conservation-oriented paddlers and their efforts to require fair, legal, and protective management of the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. AW believes that the recent decisions by the court respect the interests of everyone involved. The decisions also represent another step towards restoration of paddlers’ long tradition of floating the Chattooga River.
Come represent for the Southeast and help raise money for American Whitewater! Tallulah Fest will include: live music Friday and Saturday night, photo and video contests, vendors, food, and camping.
Last year the Obama Administration released draft guidance on which streams should be protected by the Clean Water Act. Today, we joined the American Canoe Association and our other partners in the Outdoor Alliance in reiterating our support for the proposed guidance, and requesting the issuance of final guidance.
Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new 30-year license for the Nantahala Hydroelectric Project in Western North Carolina. The new license confirms many elements of a 2003 collaborative settlement agreement developed by Duke Energy, American Whitewater, state and federal resource agencies, and many other stakeholders. Included in the new license are flow releases that treat over 250,000 people each year to whitewater paddling on the Nantahala River.
Today, the US Forest Service released their newest proposal regarding how to manage recreation on the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River, where they currently maintain a controversial ban on paddling. The proposal would allow more paddling than has been proposed by the Forest Service in prior proposals as soon as March of this year. However, like previous proposals, the new proposal would limit whitewater paddling by stream reach, season, and flow, while imposing no such limits on all other similar visitors.
Tallulah releases are scheduled to happen this fall! American Whitewater received notification that fall whitewater releases on the Tallulah River will occur the first three weekends of November.
Yesterday, national and regional conservation-oriented paddling organizations submitted comments on the US Forest Service’s 489-page Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding recreation on the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. Also joining the comments were three individuals that enjoyed paddling the river prior to the controversial 1976 paddling ban.
The Forest Service recently published a 500-page manifesto aimed at continuing the 35 year old ban on paddling the upper Chattooga. If you care about being able to enjoy rivers flowing through public lands, we ask that you submit a comment regarding the upper Chattooga River, and to call your political representative before the August 30, 2011 deadline.
River enthusiasts in Virginia, including American Whitewater, are circulating the below petition to raise support for legislation clarifying that paddling is fully supported by the State of Virginia. Join us by signing this petition!
Unhappy with a plan to protect 1 million acres of land along the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining, congressmen recently introduced a rider to an appropriations bill that would prevent these protections. Tell Congress that opening the Grand Canyon to new uranium mining would be a huge mistake!
Earlier today the US Forest Service released a Draft Environmental Assessment that proposes to continue denying the American public the simple right to float in canoes and kayaks down the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River for most or all of the year depending on the section of river. While successful in advancing some of the paddling community’s conservation goals, paddlers remain singled out for inequitable and harsh limits based solely on the Agency’s unfounded belief that user conflicts would occur if boating were allowed.
American Whitewater and AW lead volunteers that assist with Tallulah releases met with GA Power and the Tallulah Gorge State Park to discuss repairs that are taking place on the dam to repair gates damaged in a heavy rain event back in August of 2010.
American Whitewater regularly accepts donations for specific projects, and we would like to invite paddlers to donate to support our stream access work in Virginia. American Whitewater is working with a team of volunteers, pro-bono attorneys, and regional river enthusiasts to reduce threats of prosecution for the simple act of floating down a river or stream.
New river releases and public access areas are now set happen on the Tuckasegee River and its forks following a decade of studies, negotiations, lawsuits, and agency deliberation. Earlier this week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued new federal hydropower licenses for dams on the East and West Forks of the Tuckasegee River in western North Carolina.