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2022 Gauley Fest is Here!

09/14/2022 - by Bethany Overfield

Gauley Fest is rapidly approaching! Gather with hundreds of your favorite friends in Summersville, WV from September 15th through the 18th. This is our biggest outreach event of the year and it takes a village to pull it off. We’re currently in need of volunteers, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Get a free t-shirt for helping us out and good river karma for the rest of the year! To volunteer please check-in at festival headquarters (first cabin) by the main entrance gate to get your assignment. 

There will be loads of vendors showcasing the latest in paddlesport gear/equipment and selling their wares.

All proceeds from the festival support American Whitewater's river conservation and access work throughout the nation. 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.

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American Whitewater Supports Return of Klamath River Land to the Karuk Tribe

09/14/2022 - by Scott Harding

American Whitewater is actively supporting the return of 1,000 acres of land along the Klamath and Salmon rivers in California to the Karuk Tribe. The land, which was forcibly taken from the Tribe, has deep spiritual significance to the Karuk people, and its return is a long overdue act of reconciliation. Legislation to return this land has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and we are supporting its prompt passage.

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New Mexico Supreme Court Written Decision Affirms Public's Right to Access River

09/02/2022 - by Hattie Johnson

September 1st, 2022 - The New Mexico Supreme Court issued their full written decision reaffirming the longstanding right of the public to recreate on all streams of the state, including walking or wading on the streambeds. The written opinion follows the court’s action in March, when it unanimously threw out a New Mexico State Game Commission rule that purported to allow landowners to block public access to public waters.
Photo Credit: Scott Carpenter

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Boater Access and Clean Up Planned for South Fork Coeur d’Alene

08/30/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

The South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River (ID), a kayak run popular with North Idaho and Eastern Washington boaters, is about to get some much needed love. Local community members have formed a cleanup committee, with the goals of improving recreational access, and removing large metal industrial debris from the river bed. Future phases of the committee’s work will examine instream fish habitat improvements, and the possible construction of a surf wave. The clean up event is planned for September 10, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM in Wallace. More details can be found on the committee’s Facebook Page.

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Gore Canyon Race 2022 on the Upper Colorado River (CO) Canceled

08/24/2022 - by Hattie Johnson

It is with great regret that American Whitewater must announce that the Class V Gore Race for 2022 will be canceled. After purchasing race insurance in May, on Friday, August 19, we were informed that our policyholder can no longer provide insurance for Class IV and Class V whitewater events. American Whitewater as an organization, and myself personally, are committed to and care deeply about the Gore Race which is why we prepare months in advance, including making sure racers and volunteers are properly covered for liability. Unfortunately, though we've tried incredibly hard, the information about the lack of coverage was shared too late for American Whitewater to vet and find alternative coverage for the race this weekend. The downriver SUP race and freestyle events are covered by our current policy and will take place on Saturday the 27th.

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Gore Fest 2022 is ON!

08/16/2022 - by Angus Harley

Gore Fest is on! The classic downriver race through Gore Canyon and Upper Colorado SUP Race is scheduled for Saturday, August 27th with a freestyle rodeo on the morning of Sunday, August 28th. Racer check-in will be at Pumphouse rec area. There will be no camping reserved by the event and will be first come first serve, be sure to pay all fees to BLM. There is no reserved camping associated with Gore Fest. All racers MUST register online - REGISTER HERE. Registration closes 6pm on August 26th. Each race entry includes a discounted one-year membership with American Whitewater, a race bib, t-shirt, insurance, and BLM fees. There will be a cash purse for winners of each class, $10 of each registration will go towards that purse. Each registration is $85.

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Bill Addressing Climate Change and Protecting Rivers Moves to President's Desk

08/14/2022 - by Evan Stafford

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed the country's largest-ever bill focused on addressing climate change, the Inflation Reduction Act, and after passing in the Senate earlier this month, the legislation is headed to the President's desk. The health of, and our ability to enjoy our rivers, have been and stand to be affected significantly by increasing wildfire, drought and rising temperatures. This bill represents a game-changing step towards significantly reducing the impacts of climate change on our fresh water streams and paddling opportunities. 

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Submit Your Best Photos for the 2023 AW Calendar by August 19th!

08/14/2022 - by Evan Stafford

We want to see YOUR most stunning images in American Whitewater's annual calendar! Deadline for submissions is August 19th, 2022. Use our easy form to submit high-resolution files (suitable for printing up to 10", at least 1MB). Please limit photo entries to 10 per person. You'll get a free copy of the calendar if your photo is chosen, you'll know you helped support AW's river stewardship projects, as our calendar is a fundraiser, and well, fame. Images that feature rivers with current, past or future American Whitewater projects, and images that represent a diversity in paddlers, season, craft type, river trip length, river difficulty, and/or geography, will be given the highest consideration, but all compelling photos will be considered.

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Skagit River Recreation Flow Survey (WA)

08/12/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe

Seattle City Light is in the process of securing a new license to operate the Skagit Hydroelectric Project before the current licensee expires in 2025. As part of that process a number of studies are underway that include an assessment of the impacts of hydropower operations on recreation. To collect information from the public, Seattle City Light is conducting an online recreation flow survey for three river segments on the Skagit River. American Whitewater, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and North Cascades National Park participated in the development of this study plan. The purpose of this recreation flow survey is to gather information about recreation flow preferences for three river segments on the Skagit River along a 25.2-mile length from the Goodell Creek Boat Launch inside the Ross Lake National Recreation Area to Howard Miller Steelhead Park near Rockport.

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Deerfield Fest Trip Report with New Executive Director Clinton Begley

08/12/2022 - by Clinton Begley

The Northeast paddling community really took me in during my short time living in the area, so it was refreshing to be back there and celebrating alongside them again at the 2022 Deerfield River Festival. And it was a great way to see some of the AW staff doing their thing! Northeast Stewardship Director Bob Nasdor and our Membership & Engagement Director Bethany Overfield managed to put on a remarkable event despite some real challenges, including with the releases we were there to celebrate, and I'm so glad they're on our team.  Image: Rick Hudson giving a tribute to Norm Sims

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Klamath River Devastated by Wildfire-Related Fish Kill

08/09/2022 - by Scott Harding

The Klamath River in far northern California is currently experiencing an unprecedented crisis borne of wildfire and extreme weather that has thickened the river with mud for 155 miles, causing a massive fish kill. It is one of several wildfire-related emergencies simultaneously affecting the river, its two largest tributaries-the Salmon and the Trinity-and multiple river communities right now. Twenty whitewater runs totaling 293 miles are impacted. Photo: Karuk Tribe Fisheries.

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Deerfield Fest August 6th: All Together Now

07/19/2022 - by Robert Nasdor

After a 2-year hiatus, the northeast whitewater boating community will come together on August 6th at Deerfield Fest, a celebration of nearly 40 years of whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts. This year's festival will be held at Berkshire East Mountain on August 6th. Deerfield Fest commemorates the historic 1994 Settlement Agreement that requires scheduled boating releases on the Fife Brook and Dryway sections of the Deerfield. The event supports American Whitewater's river stewardship work in the norttheast.

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Senator Bennet (CO) Introduces Legislation to Protect the Dolores River Canyon

07/19/2022 - by Hattie Johnson

For over a decade, American Whitewater has worked with a diverse and collaborative group to find consensus on how to provide durable protections to the outstandingly remarkable values of the Dolores River while honoring local concerns around the protection of existing water and land uses. Years ago, the group identified a federally designated National Conservation Area as the best means to preserve the Dolores River Canyons, its recreation, wildlife, and scenery. Yesterday, Colorado’s senior senator, Michael Bennet, introduced that legislation. This is an exciting and important step toward permanent protection and is the result of coordination with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal government; a diverse subcommittee including counties, water managers, conservation groups, and more. Please join us today in thanking Senator Bennet for his commitment to this important river canyon! Ponderosa Gorge Image credit: Rig to Flip

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K.M. Collins: Volunteer of the Month, Presented by Kokatat

06/30/2022 - by Bethany Overfield

Writer and raft guide, Krystal Marie Collins (K.M. Collins) is our American Whitewater June Volunteer of the Month. K.M. was American Whitewater’s lead volunteer event organizer at our recent Bend Community Reception in May and we couldn't have done it without her. She’s also helped us out with a signage project, and she’s done publicity work for Aboriginal Outfitters and their efforts to remove Enloe Dam and restore the Similkameen River.

We want to take a moment to spotlight her enthusiasm and to say ‘Hey! Thanks” by honoring her as our June AW Volunteer of the Month presented by Kokatat.

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Addressing public safety at low head dams

06/28/2022 - by Hattie Johnson

American Whitewater’s database of whitewater accidents and fatalities, maintained since 1972, documents that 10% of river fatalities nationwide are a result of individuals getting caught in a low head dam hydraulic. These dams are generally defined as a manmade structure, up to about 25 feet in height, built across a river or stream channel from bank to bank. Powerful hydraulics and hard to see horizon lines create a dangerous hazard. Most paddlers have had a run in with a low head dam in some capacity, whether is a nasty surf, a tough portage or worse. American Whitewater has been working at the local, state and federal level to address this public safety issue. Understanding the location, utility, public safety hazard, and ownership of these structures can not only better inform recreationists, but also help to better identify structures for removal or retrofit.

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May/June AW Journal now available

06/10/2022 - by Bethany Overfield

The May/June AW Journal is hot off the press! In this issue we focus on Executive Director Mark Singleton’s legacy as he transitions away from AW. A few other highlights include:

-Access areas in California that were recently reestablished after significant action from our community
-An inspiring plan for a 1000+ mile journey tracing the Salmon River from its source to the sea
-First descent account from the Upper Little North Santiam in Oregon
-A safety reminder on the dangers of wood

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River Protections in Montana and New Mexico Hit Milestone in Congress

06/09/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

On June 8, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on two Wild and Scenic River bills that would permanently protect over 830 river miles in New Mexico and Montana. This hearing was a critical milestone for these bills and moves them closer to the President’s Desk and being signed into law. American Whitewater and our partners worked hard to secure the hearing and we are thrilled to celebrate this win with our members and supporters. 

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American Whitewater Announces New Executive Director, Clinton Begley

06/09/2022 - by Bethany Overfield

After conducting a nationwide search and interviewing several highly qualified candidates, American Whitewater announced today that Clinton Begley will be its new Executive Director. The Team at American Whitewater, including our Board of Directors and Staff, were recently able to meet the finalists for the position, including Begley, and there was unanimous support for his selection. Clinton will begin his Executive Director role on August 1st and plans to travel to American Whitewater events this summer and fall to meet up with our staff, volunteers, members and supporters in their home regions. Stay tuned for more information on his professional and personal background in coming weeks. We’re all excited to welcome Clinton aboard and are looking forward to working with him!

Read more below.

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AW Participates in EPA Roundtable on the Importance of Clean Water

06/09/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

On Tuesday, June 7, Kevin Colburn, American Whitewater’s National Stewardship Director, participated in a roundtable hosted jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Cahaba Brewing Co. on the importance of clean water protections in the Southeast. He joined stakeholders from a broad spectrum of land and water users who live or work in eleven Southeastern states, including a director of a water and sewer utility; general contracting and construction management executive; mitigation banker; faith leader; environmental justice advocates; farmers, including a Gullah-Geechee farmer; elected officials; representatives from conservation and environmental organizations; and clean water scientists.

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Over 50 Paddlers Enjoy Inaugural Weber River Releases (UT)

06/09/2022 - by Evan Stafford

This past Saturday, June 4, was the first of four negotiated Saturday releases that will occur annually between May-July for the Scrambled Eggs section of the Weber River (UT), a 1.8-mile roadside run south of the cty of Ogden. The release day was well attended and critically restored river flows to a region severely impacted by dams and diversions. American Whitewater has spent the past seven years working towards these releases and we hope paddlers enjoy them this year and into the future! Remaining release days for this year are June 18, July 2, and July 9, subject to change if unexpected conditions occur.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!