Paddlers' Opinions Sought on Catawba River's Great Falls (SC)
10/17/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater and our partners are seeking paddlers' input on how you used the Great Falls of the Catawba River (SC) in 2023, how you plan to visit the area next year, and what your impressions of the run are. We'll be meeting with Duke Energy and other partners like Catawba Riverkeeper in a few weeks to discuss lessons-learned from this year and to plan next year. Your input matters, and will help us maximize the recreational benefits of the Great Falls for years to come. To inform our planning meeting we've put together a survey for Great Falls paddlers. Let us know what you think! Take the survey here within the next week or so: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TZCYHWQ
Montana Agency Proposes Paddling Prohibition on Fish Creek
09/20/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
Earlier this week Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks proposed to prohibit paddling on the entire length of Fish Creek, located near the popular Alberton Gorge section of the Clark Fork River downstream of Missoula. Their rationale is both flawed and concerning, and the proposal marks a significant shift for a state that has a long history of strongly supporting the public freedom to float rivers. Paddlers across the state are encouraged to speak out to stop this overbearing proposal, as part of a public comment period open until October 20, 2023.
New EPA Rule Greatly Reduces Clean Water Act Protections
08/31/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
Earlier this week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new federal rule that eliminates protection for a majority of our nation’s wetlands and estimated totals of well over a million miles of streams. The rule aligns the law with a recent Supreme Court Case that limited the kinds of wetlands and streams that can be covered by the Clean Water Act. American Whitewater joined an amicus brief in that pivotal court case, advocating for the science-based protection of these streams and wetlands, but the Supreme Court ruled against us. American Whitewater and the paddling community have been stalwart advocates for the Clean Water Act through decades of various rules, legislation, and litigation. This will not change: we'll seek opportunities to restore river protections at the state and federal level in the months and years ahead following this setback.
National Park Service Shares 2023 Gauley Season Details (WV)
08/31/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater received the annual open letter to boaters from the great rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area and are happy to share it in this article. This letter will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River for the 2023 season. In addition, as part of our agreement with the land owner, there is no camping allowed on the Legg field that American Whitewater leases for overflow parking. As always, respect this and other private property. The 2023 release schedule for Gauley season is posted here.
Speak Up For Dam Removals On TN’s Little River
08/28/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to remove two low head dams on the Little River in Tennessee, and considered but passed on the removal of a third dam. These dam removals are located in scenic Class I-II reaches that are popular with beginner and local paddlers. Sadly, these two dams, called Rockford Dam and Peery’s Mill Dam, have been responsible for seven drownings in recent years. Dam removal would significantly benefit the many members of the public who enjoy paddling rivers in the region, and American Whitewater has submitted a comment letter fully supporting this proposed dam removal. Additional comments from the paddling community will help this exciting project move forward and succeed at meeting the public interest in river restoration, recreation, and safety.
AW Wildfire Info Map Keeps Boaters Updated on Rivers Affected by Fires
07/27/2023 - by Scott Harding
It's peak fire season in much of the country and active wildfires are currently burning along several whitewater rivers in the West. Be sure to check the American Whitewater Wildfire Information Map for the latest details on whether there's an active wildfire that could affect your boating trip or safety. It's the only map that combines detailed information on whitewater runs with constantly updated fire locations, air quality info, and more.
American Whitewater Challenges Ashley National Forest Plan (UT)
07/05/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater recently filed a formal objection to the newly revised Ashley National Forest management plan. The objection challenges the Forest Service’s decision to permanently release 28 rivers and streams from protection as potential Wild and Scenic Rivers after previously finding them eligible for such protections. Only two eligible streams retained protected status in the plan. The Forest is the first to attempt this release of river protections under the 2012 planning rule, which requires protection of eligible streams. The Forest’s attempt at systematically foreclosing river protections could lead to a rapid erosion of our nation’s wildest public-land streams in Utah and beyond, at a time when cold and clean water is more important than ever.
North Chickamauga Becomes TN’s Newest Scenic River
06/01/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
We are pleased to report that North Chickamauga and Cain creeks became Tennessee’s most recent state Scenic Rivers on May 18th, 2023. This state designation follows several other designations over the past few years on streams like Soak Creek and the Piney River. The designation effort was led by the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy and drew broad support from many groups, including American Whitewater. This state designation signals a bright future for these streams, which are home to classic whitewater runs.
Year Two of Releases on Utah's Weber River Set
05/30/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
This year marks the second year of recreational releases on the Scrambled Eggs section of the Weber River in Utah! American Whitewater negotiated these releases over the past few years and is excited to celebrate year two, and wow what a different year it is! Unlike last year when getting a minimum paddling flow on release days was a minor miracle, this year release days could be quite high, after a long season of high flows. This year’s releases will be June 10 & 17 and July 1 & 15, between 10 and 2 pm. Enjoy!
New NC Forest Plan, Cause for Both Celebration and Disappointment
02/20/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
On February 17, 2023, the US Forest Service released their long awaited new management plan for the 1.1 million acre Nantahala Pisgah National Forest, which will set the course of federal management of the area for the next two decades or longer. The Nantahala Pisgah Forest Partnership (the Partnership), a collaborative group of which American Whitewater is an active member, has spent the past decade developing recommendations for the Plan to improve the management of the Forest. The Plan has both reasons for celebration and reasons for concern when it comes to the future of these special lands and the rivers that flow through them. While we’ll be doing a deep analysis of the Plan, we have some early reflections to share.
Great Falls Catawba Update - See You in March!
01/10/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
Following 20 years of work, American Whitewater and our partners are in the final push to have the Great Falls of the Catawba ready for flow restoration and paddling this March. We are confident releases will start in March and conditions will be prime to visit the river thereafter. In the interim we ask that paddlers please refrain from paddling the river to allow for important work to happen in and around the river. In this article we'll share an update on where things stand in this unique river restoration project.
Lolo National Forest (MT) to Begin Planning - Explore the Web Map
01/05/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
The Lolo National Forest, which encircles Missoula, Montana is gearing up to revise their forest plan starting this spring. The new plan will take a fresh look at which rivers merit protection as potential (eligible) Wild and Scenic Rivers and set recreational and other goals for the next 20 or so years. The process takes around 3 years, and there will be ample opportunities to get involved. Paddlers are encouraged to participate, and share their knowledge of rivers and streams. In this article we share a data-rich web map for paddlers to explore and some tips for how to get involved.
New Clean Water Act Rule Released, Rivers Benefit
01/04/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
Last week the Environmental Protection Agency released a new final rule governing which streams and wetlands will be covered by the Clean Water Act. If this sounds familiar, it is for good reason: this issue has been the subject of perennial debate and changes made by various administrations and courts for at least the past two decades. But, for today, for rivers, it is time to celebrate! The new rule, which will likely take effect in 60 days, will restore protections for many of America’s wetlands and streams that had lost protection under the previous version of the rule. Desert rivers are particularly big winners under the new rule, as protections for many of these rivers were lost under the prior rule and will now return.
Proposed Crazy Mountain Land Swap Open For Comment (MT)
12/20/2022 - by Kevin Colburn
The Forest Service is considering a proposed land exchange in Montana that would trade away public lands along Big Timber and Sweet Grass creeks in the Crazy Mountains. The proposal appears unlikely to change paddling access or other values on Big Timber Creek, but access to Sweet Grass could be greatly reduced. This area is riddled with checkerboard ownership and has longstanding public access uncertainties. Hunters, anglers, and other backcountry enthusiasts have largely panned the proposal because it reduces public access. American Whitewater submitted a comment respectfully asking that the impacts to paddling be considered, and that the proposal be modified to improve rather than limit public access. Comments are due by December 23, 2022.
Trip Reports Offer Enhanced Sharing of River Trips
12/06/2022 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater has revitalized the Trip Report option on our website, and we hope paddlers will take advantage of it! Trip Reports allow anyone logged into the American Whitewater website to tell the story of a river trip by sharing any combination of photos, text, date, and water levels. The most recent three reports are found at the bottom of every river page, and all reports are located on the Trip Report tab on river pages. We encourage paddlers to give it a try, and in this article we'll share a few suggestions on how we hope paddlers use the Trip Report option.
Southeast 2023 Advanced Release Schedule Announced!
11/25/2022 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater and our affiliate clubs have spent the past 25 years working to restore flows to incredible Southeastern rivers impacted by dams. A lot of our work has focused on releases and access on Class II and III rivers like the lower Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Hiwassee, and Catawba, but we also secured releases in some classic steeper reaches previously dewatered by hydroelectric diversions. Each year we meet with power companies and agencies to schedule future releases, review ongoing ecology studies, and discuss any issues with the release programs. We strive to create a schedule with minimal conflicts to maximize recreational value. Below are the 2023 dates for the Class IV/V Cheoah, Nantahala Cascades & Upper, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah rivers.
Comments Needed on Madison River Boating Limits (MT)
10/13/2022 - by Kevin Colburn
Supreme Court Dives Into Clean Water Act Scope
10/03/2022 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater Opposes Legislation to Undermine Clean Water Act
09/23/2022 - by Bob Nasdor
Volunteers Work Hard on Upper Yough Accesses
08/26/2022 - by Charlie Walbridge
Although a broken dam curtailed Upper Yough water releases this year, it's been a great season for American Whitewater volunteers. On the left, Jesse Shimrock is AW's new Upper Yough Access Manager. A lifelong resident of Garrett County, he learned to paddle here as a teen. After years on the freestyle circuit he built a house in Sang Run and is ready to look after the interests of river runners. AW has maintained the site for decades thanks to an agreement with Maryland State Parks. Jesse has plans for upgrades and improvements; if you want to help, contact him on FB. And don't forget reliable Don Millard, on the right, who has mowed the grass in both Sang Run and Friendsville for many years! He does a great job and saves AW thousands of dollars each year!