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North Fork French Broad Wild and Scenic Storymap Available!

08/24/2023 - by Grace Hassler

The North Fork of the French Broad, a class IV+ creeking destination in western North Carolina, is now eligible for National Wild and Scenic River designation! More work is needed to help this river gain its well-deserved Wild and Scenic status. Once designated, the North Fork of the French Broad will forever be protected from development projects like dams - a huge victory for a river that was almost lost to them twice in the last 60 years. Explore this interactive storymap to learn more about the North Fork of the French Broad’s history, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and how you can support the river’s journey toward Wild and Scenic River status.Don’t forget to show your support for a Wild and Scenic North Fork of the French Broad by signing on to our petition at the bottom of the storymap page.


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Recreation Roundtable on the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River (CA)

08/22/2023 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

American Whitewater, Outdoor Alliance California, Tuolumne River Trust and the Tuolumne River Outfitters spearheaded a recreation roundtable to highlight recreation and access issues on the Wild and Scenic Tuolumne River with Congressman Tom McClintock and his senior staff. Our goal for the two-day event was to build appreciation for this iconic stretch of river among all the stakeholders who manage, recreate, and depend on it for the local economy. We also wanted to call attention to last winter’s atmospheric rivers which damaged and closed key access roads and severely impacted whitewater recreation and visitation to the Tuolumne River.

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Eagle Falls Graffiti Scrub and Clean Up, Saturday 8/26 (WA)

08/20/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe

Back in 2017 the local whitewater paddling community rallied to clean up Eagle Falls on the Skykomish River. Ongoing stewardship of the site is necessary and this August American Whitewater is supporting a volunteer-led effort to remove graffiti and clean up the site on Saturday August 26th at 8am. We have recruited a team to operate a blaster to remove graffiti but additional volunteers to help move equipment, blasting media, and assist with general site clean up are welcome. Bring your gloves, trash bags, and sturdy footwear. A couple ladders will also likely be useful. Be sure to bring water and snacks.

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New Access Completed on North Fork Feather River

08/15/2023 - by Dave Steindorf

As part of the Poe hydropower license on the North Fork Feather River, Pacific Gas and Electric company was required to build a new trail from the Cresta Powerhouse house parking lot, down to the Poe Reservoir. This trail now provides much improved takeout access for the lower section of the Class II/ III Cresta run. Previously, taking out at the Cresta Powerhouse required paddlers to climb a steep scree slope that was challenging with kayaks and nearly impossible with rafts. Additionally, this trail now provides access to Poe Reservoir for flatwater kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and canoeing. While this reservoir is immediately adjacent to highway 70, it has been virtually inaccessible to the public for recreation. 

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Southern Rockies Regional Program Leadership Update

08/10/2023 - by Hattie Johnson and Kestrel Kunz

We are so pleased to announce that our regional program in the Southern Rockies is now going to be co-lead by Kestrel Kunz and Hattie Johnson. This shared leadership approach allows each of us to take on a more focused aspect of American Whitewater’s mission. Kestrel will now be the Director of Protection and lead our work on proactive management and policy that will protect the rivers in the Southern Rockies as they are now. Hattie will be the Director of Restoration, working to repair damage done on our rivers by restoring flows and function.

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Volunteers Needed! Gauley Fest 2023 w/ 40th Anniversary 80s Party

08/10/2023 - by Evan Stafford

Gauley Fest 2023 is almost here! Our largest membership drive and biggest whitewater event of the year is just a few weeks away Nicholas County Veterans Memorial Park, Summersville, WV. The festival grounds open up September 14th for weekend camping onsite, with our vendor market and live music running thru the weekend, plus our infamous silent auction and an 80s theme party Saturday, September 16th to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Gauley Fest! We will wrap up the festival on Sunday, September 17th with a festival-wide clean up to show the community how much we appreciate them! We are still seeking generous river-loving volunteers for the following positions to help make this magical weekend happen! Register here today! Everyone who contributes receives an exclusive festival t-shirt and volunteers who share 5 or more hours get free admission for the full festival weekend.
September 12th - 14th: Setup Volunteers 
September 15th - 16th: Admissions & Parking Volunteers 
September 17th: Breakdown & Cleanup Volunteers 

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Come Celebrate Gore Fest August 25-26

07/31/2023 - by Hattie Johnson

On August 25-26, American Whitewater will be gathering our community on the Colorado River at Pumphouse Rec Area to celebrate our work in the southern Rockies. While we won’t be hosting an official race through Gore this year, we still will gather and enjoy river time together as another river season is closing out in Colorado. Join us to camp, renew your membership and have a chance to win some awesome prizes. And we won’t let you go without another year of a sweet Gore Fest t-shirt.

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Washington State Opens Public Comment for Outstanding Resource Waters

07/25/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe

Washington State Department of Ecology has initiated a rulemaking process to establish the first Outstanding Resource Waters in the State. In 2022 American Whitewater joined other river conservation groups in the state in nominating the state’s first Outstanding Resource Waters: the Cascade (Skagit watershed), Green (Toutle watershed), and Napeequa (Wenatchee) rivers. The Washington State Department of Ecology has opened a 60-day public comment period to establish the level of public support for these designations and your voice is important. Take Action Today!

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Connecticut River (MA) Settlement Expands Boating Opportunities

07/13/2023 - by Robert Nasdor

After a decade of advocacy to restore a section of the Connecticut River in Massachusetts and expand whitewater boating opportunities, American Whitewater signed a settlement agreement with FirstLight Power as part of the FERC relicensing of the Turners Falls and Northfield Mountain hydropower projects. American Whitewater was joined by affiliates Appalachian Mountain Club and New England FLOW along with supporting outfitters Zoar Outdoor and Crab Apple Whitewater in achieving this historic agreement.


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River Permit Survey Results Preview

07/12/2023 - by Kelsey Phillips

Back in December of 2022, American Whitewater shared a survey to gather paddlers’ opinions on the permit systems that are used to manage use on multi-day river trips. This survey was designed to investigate both satisfaction with, and preference for various permitting systems in the U.S., as well as specific attitudes towards these systems. A huge number, 1,261 paddlers, were able to fully respond to the survey, answering both general questions regarding permitting systems as well as specific questions about a river of their choice. The lottery system with the lowest levels of dissatisfaction is a weighted one; 34% of those who have entered the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon’s cancellation lottery were somewhat or very dissatisfied with the lottery, versus the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, where 69% of those who have entered were somewhat or very dissatisfied. When asked about their most preferred method for awarding permits, a weighted lottery by number of failed attempts was the favorite at 56%, in contrast to the alternatives: a lottery weighted by number of years not on a river (25%), a lottery with equal odds (10%), a first-come, first-served system (5%), and a waitlist (4%). While a full write-up of these results will be presented in an upcoming American Whitewater Journal, some of the topline results are presented in this article.

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Dolores Boating Season Recap and Survey

07/11/2023 - by Hattie Johnson

Boatable flows on the lower Dolores River petered out at the end of June as downstream releases from McPhee dam matched the inflows into the reservoir. Boaters were about to enjoy a total of 55 days of flows over 800 cfs and an extended high flow period (over 3,200 cfs) for 28 days - an entire month. These flows were thanks to an extremely healthy snowpack in the southwest, especially low elevation snow that provided early season high water in the lower Dolores. If you got out to experience the river and haven’t yet had a chance to complete the survey about your experience, please do so today! We will close the survey on July 31st.

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Access to Crooked River Protected for Future Generations (OR)

07/06/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe

We are pleased to report that the access to the Wild and Scenic Crooked River at Hollywood Road on the Crooked River Ranch has been brought into public ownership! This access success was made possible through funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and leadership of Trust for Public Land.

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9 Days of Whitewater Flows for the San Joaquin River at Horseshoe Bend (CA)

07/05/2023 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Southern California Edison has provided an updated forecast for 9 days of whitewater recreational flows on the San Joaquin River at Horseshoe Bend. July 29, 2023, is the target for the start of these flows between 3500 cfs and 3000 cfs. Recreational flows are forecasted to end on August 6, 2023, with flows between 2000 cfs and 1600 cfs. Keep in mind forecasted dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions.

Photo by Paul Martzen

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American Whitewater Releases Open-Source Signage Toolbox

06/27/2023 - by KM Collins

American Whitewater is all about open-source, river information sharing. This is the motivation and rationale behind American Whitewater’s recently released Open-source Signage Toolbox. The first of its kind in the river community, the Toolbox houses a database of templates for safety messaging regarding life jackets, caution messaging, river kiosk information, map content and river rapid classification info. American Whitewater has taken on the challenge of streamlining universal whitewater and river signage. Think of the Toolbox as conveniently usable excerpts and content from a universal river sign guidebook. In the same way ski resorts have cultivated unified symbols, signage and color coding standards for downhill difficulty ratings (i.e. black diamond, green and blue, etc.), American Whitewater has curated universal signage for relaying important river safety information in the form of the Open-source Signage Toolbox

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Kern River Questionnaire to Identify Knowledge Gaps (CA)

06/13/2023 - by Jeff Venturino

Southern California Edison (SCE) is in the process of conducting a questionnaire in support of relicensing KR3, the North Fork Kern River hydropower project that includes Fairview Dam and Kern #3 Powerhouse. American Whitewater has been actively engaged in the KR3 relicensing and working to make sure that the Whitewater Boating Study accurately reflects whitewater recreation use within the project-affected reach.

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Tuolumne River Access Partially Restored (CA)

06/09/2023 - by Jeff Venturino

The Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River canyon has been closed by managing agencies since March of this year in the wake of several atmospheric river events that caused widespread infrastructure and road damage. Major slides damaged both Lumsden Road and Ward’s Ferry Road. American Whitewater has been working with the US Forest Service, Tuolumne County, Hetch Hetchy Water & Power, Don Pedro Recreation Agency, the Bureau Land Management, and local outfitters to find solutions to restore access. While the current situation is less than optimal, we are fortunate to announce that there are access alternatives and American Whitewater will continue to work to direct attention and resources towards improving them.

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We're Hiring a Membership and Operations Specialist!

06/08/2023 - by Clinton Begley

The Membership & Operations Specialist is a new position that will primarily work with our Membership and Engagement Director Bethany Overfield and help support the necessary programmatic, administrative, and data management tasks associated with maintaining and growing the organization’s member and donor base. Visit our Employment Opportunities page for more information about the position and how to apply! 

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Tell Us About Your Dolores River Experience This Year

06/08/2023 - by Hattie Johnson

For the first time since 2019, boatable flows have been released from McPhee dam into the lower Dolores. A record setting snowpack in the basin has allowed for a long season with extended high flows. If you got a chance to experience this stunning river, or have a trip planned for the near future, we would love to hear more about your experience. Your responses to this survey are incredibly helpful in working with dam operators on structuring releases. Please complete and share with your boating friends. 

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Colorado Stream Access Case Dismissed

06/08/2023 - by Hattie Johnson

The Colorado Supreme Court issued their decision on the Hill v. Warsewa case after hearing oral arguments just last month. The justices unanimously found that Roger Hill did not have standing to seek a legally protected interest to pursue his claim “that a river segment was navigable for title at statehood and belongs to the State.” This question in front of the state supreme court was a narrow one. The justice’s found that he did not, that “Hill has no legally protected right independent of the State’s alleged ownership of the riverbed onto which he  can hook his declaratory judgment claim”. It is an unfortunate decision as it limits who can bring a case to determine the status of the public’s right to access the river and it is an issue that is not going away.

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May/June American Whitewater Journal hot off the press!

06/06/2023 - by Bethany Overfield

The newest edition of the American Whitewater Journal is now available online. If you're an American Whitewater member that receives the print version of our journal, it should have landed in your mailbox last week (if not, it'll be there soon!). 

We have a wonderful team of talented folks that work on publishing this journal five times a year, but at its heart the American Whitewater Journal is a volunteer publication that relies on community members to submit their stories, photos, art and other contributions that make up its content. This is OUR journal!

If you're interested in submitting your work for publication, you can easily do so via our Journal Submission Form

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