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Upper Yough Access Guidelines and Fundraiser

Posted: 06/30/2020
by Charlie Walbridge

At Maryland's Upper Yough, one of the country's finest whitewater runs, American Whitewater has been maintaining the Sang Run Access for the past 20 years. With the 4th of July weekend coming up, a quick reminder that we are guests of the Town of Friendsville when we take out. In addition changing clothes discretely ad behaving respectfully, please observe social distancing during the pandemic. Garrett County has a low infection rate, and a mask when patronizing local businesses is the norm. We are also beginning our annual fundraiser to pay the expenses American Whitewater has at Sang Run. Out goal is $1,000, and we have already received $160. The Fee Box at Sang Run is still closed due to vandalism. We suggest $20 for the full season; $5 for one weekend. Please donate on line, or use the donation jar at the Wilderness Voyageurs shop at the takeout. Please go to https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Membership/donate/? and put "Upper Yough Access" in the comment box.

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Black Lives Matter, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Our Stewardship Work

Posted: 06/26/2020
by Theresa Simsiman

We are taking the time to listen and learn. That is the statement American Whitewater made last month to reckon with Black Lives Matter, the much-needed conversation about race taking place across the world. It was true to our desire to spend some real time assessing the intersection of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion with our river stewardship work. Since then, staff, with guidance from our board, has initiated some hard-internal conversations to discuss what we have learned and to figure out what we can do to affect change.

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Don Millard - AW Super Upper Yough Access Volunteer!

Posted: 06/25/2020
by Charlie and Sandy Walbridge

American Whitewater super-volunteer Don Millard has been taking care of the Sang Run and Friendsville Access Areas on Maryland's Upper Youghioghenny River for the past several years. This bulds on a 2003 agreement between American Whitewater and Maryland State Parks, which owns the property. This year he rebuilt the change house and porta-pot shelter, set AW's sign back up, filled in potholes, and mowed acres of grass. He not only did the work, he donated the materials and machine time! This work givezs AW strong ties to the community (the place is also a fishing access) and local park managers. Also, thanks to him, boaters are not faced with a $5 access fee at both ends! Please remember, the pandemic is still on. Be smart. If you use the porta-pot, wash your hands or use sanitizer!

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Comment Now on Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan (NC)

Posted: 06/22/2020
by Kevin Colburn

The Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest spans 1.1 million acres of Western North Carolina's lush forested mountains. The Forest is home to popular whitewater runs like the Nantahala, Wild and Scenic Rivers like the Chattooga, and steep adventure runs like the Thompson River. The Forest's streams are home to astounding biodiversity and produce drinking water, jobs, and recreational benefits across the region. Over the next two weeks you can have a say in the next Forest Plan that will govern how these streams - as well as trails and other recreational sites - are managed for the next 15-20 years. AW has been part of the collaborative Nantahala Pisgah Forest Partnership for the past 7 years, and we are pleased to share some suggested Draft Plan ideas with you that are broadly supported. Comments are due June 29th.

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1000+ Comments Halt Threats to the South Fork American River (CA)

Posted: 06/13/2020
by Theresa Simsiman

Last May American Whitewater and our colleagues at Friends of the River asked for your help to stop El Dorado Irrigation District's (EID) proposed modification of Water Right Permit 21112. This proposal contained changes to water diversion points for 17,000-acre feet of water per year that would have been detrimental to 50 miles of whitewater on the South Fork American River. This included our favorite Class II-V whitewater reaches on Kyburz, Golden Gate, Slab Creek, Chili Bar, Coloma to Greenwood & the Gorge. We are happy to report your overwhelming response generated 1065 comments helping to stop this proposal in its tracks.

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CA Scheduled Releases Mokelumne, NF Feather & Pit

Posted: 06/12/2020
by Theresa Simsiman

In California, American Whitewater is working with Pacific Gas & Electric and the managing agencies, including USFS and BLM, to provide the following scheduled releases for the Mokelumne, North Fork Feather & the PIT River. Please note that each release has been and is subject to circumstances on the ground regarding COVID 19. All parties keeping in mind the current California State Order as well as local County Health Guidelines.


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Congress is dropping in on the Great American Outdoors Act

Posted: 06/11/2020
by Evan Stafford

The Great American Outdoors Act, a new bill that would permanently fund the LWCF and provide five years of funding for public lands and rivers is moving forward through Congress right now and we need your voice to make sure it becomes law. The Senate voted 80 to 17 on Monday to begin floor debate on the legislation. This means there's still time to show your support for a visionary investment in the protection and enhancement of access to, and in the vitality of the local economies that rely on, our public lands and rivers. Take action now, as this vote means a full vote to pass this legislation out of the Senate and send it to the House where the companion bill is waiting, is imminent.

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Comments Needed to Support Weber River (UT) Releases

Posted: 06/09/2020
by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater has worked for the past several years to successfully negotiate an agreement calling for 4 recreational releases each summer on the Scrambled Eggs reach of the Weber River, located near Ogden, Utah. This agreement was considered and supported in a recent Environmental Assessment (EA) authored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who are accepting public comments on the EA and will then issue a new 30 to 50-year license for the dam. Hopefully that license will include our proposed recreational releases that were supported by the EA. If you have paddled this reach, personal comments in support of recreational releases and the recreational values of the river will help ensure the releases are included in the final dam license.

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Clear Creek (CO) is Now Open to Boaters!

Posted: 06/09/2020
by Ian Stafford

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clear Creek Canyon near Golden, CO was closed to recreation beginning in April. As recreation began reopening across the state, and within Clear Creek Canyon, whitewater recreation was omitted from the list of approved activities. With hard work from American Whitewater, Colorado Whitewater, and the local boating community, we work able to develop a dialogue with local law enforcement and elected officials to reopen this valuable Front Range boating area.

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Relicensing of Montreal River Hydropower Projects Begins (WI)

Posted: 05/30/2020
by Thomas O'Keefe

In December 2019 Northern States Power submitted their Notice of Intent and Preliminary Application Document to relicense both the Saxon Falls and Superior Falls Hydroelectric Projects. These two projects regulate flows on the West Branch Montreal and Montreal Canyon. Both of these runs are enjoyed by paddlers from across the Midwest and offer opportunities that are unique to the region. American Whitewater will be filing formal comments and a study request within the next week requesting an evaluation of flow needs for whitewater boating and adequacy of accommodations for public access to the river. Paddlers in the region who know the river can help by filing personal comments.

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Senator Wyden Introduces Legislation to Invest in Public Lands

Posted: 05/12/2020
by Thomas O'Keefe

As the impacts of COVID-19 ripple through the economy, Members of Congress are seeking ideas for what economic recovery looks like. Several Congressional offices have reached out to American Whitewater to solicit ideas for projects and initiatives that would benefit public lands and outdoor recreation while putting people to work. Over the past two weeks we have been working with our colleagues at Outdoor Alliance to develop some specific proposals. We are thrilled to report that Senator Wyden from Oregon has taken some our ideas and stepped up in a big way to make investment in public lands and the outdoor recreation economy a personal priority.

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Great American Outdoors Act Introduced

Posted: 03/10/2020
by Thomas O'Keefe

It's been a wild ride this past week for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Restore Our Parks Act all initiated by a tweet from the President that began with these words: "I am calling on Congress to send me a Bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks." We just got back from a week in DC working to make it happen and all indications are that we are on the cusp of getting legislation passed that directly benefits and provides resources for river access. The bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, introduced yesterday by 55 Senators, combines the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act and Restore Our Parks Act with some key changes and additional funding we requested. Use our easy action form to reach out your representatives today and help us make sure this incredible opportunity for funding river recreation and conservation does not pass us by! 

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Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, dies

Posted: 12/13/2019
by Charlie Walbridge

Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, died on November 20th, 2019. He was 83. A microbiologist by training, Terry began paddling in the mid-1960's while a professor at Emory University. He took to whitewater readily, and it became an important focus of his life. In 1969 he met veteran paddler Doug Woodward, and in 1971 the two became the technical advisers for the movie "Deliverance." Afterwards, Terry and Woodward purchased the rafts Warner Brothers used in filming and bought 19 acres near the river. This became Southeastern Expeditions, one of the Southeast's first whitewater outposts on the Chattooga. In 1974, Terry took then-Gov. Jimmy Carter on three trips on the Chatooga River, totaling 57 miles. This inspired Carter to get the Chattooga included in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and influenced later decisions protecting rivers across the U.S."Terry adopted me as one of his students," Carter told Outside Online in a 2017 interview. "it opened my eyes to the relationship between a human being and a wild river that I never had contemplated before that. When I got to be president I vetoed 16 different dam projects all over the United States." Terry eventually quit his Emory University job and started full time career in environmental advocacy, including founding American Rivers, a principal U.S. conservation group. For the next 30 years he specialized in environmental projects involving rivers and wetlands and later, when he became a board-certified toxicologist, he developed an expertise in hazardous waste cleanups. He was an active paddler until sidelined by Parkinson's Disease. A passionate teacher and advocate, he is sorely missed by all who knew him. Click through for an excellent obituary and a photo of Terry taking Governor Carter over Bull Sluice!

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American Whitewater Releases New River Access Planning Guide

Posted: 12/05/2019
by Evan Stafford

In a joint project with the River Management Society, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Forest Service (USFS), and National Park Service (NPS), American Whitewater has published the River Access Planning Guide. American Whitewater is regularly called upon to assist with river access projects. Some are a spectacular success, while others are a disappointment. Over the past three years, American Whitewater has been working with the NPS Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Programs to better understand how success comes about when a river access project is developed and provide guidance for a step-by-step process that leads to projects that meet user needs and are sustainable both ecologically and financially.

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Owyhee Canyonlands Legislation Introduced (OR)

Posted: 11/08/2019
by Thomas O'Keefe

This week's introduction of the Malheur County Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act (S. 2828) represents a historic move to protect over 1.1 million acres of public lands as wilderness in Malheur County centered around the Owyhee Canyonlands. The legislation also includes protection for an additional 14.7 miles of the Owyhee River as Wild and Scenic.

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Recreation Not Red Tape Act: a bill to benefit outdoor recreation

Posted: 10/05/2019
by Thomas O'Keefe

For the past several years American Whitewater has worked with our partners on the Recreation Not Red Tape Act (H.R. 3458/S.1967). This is among the most important piece of positive policy we expect to see this Congress in terms of improving outdoor recreation and our access to rivers on public land. Senator Wyden originally approached us on the idea of a bill to benefit outdoor recreation to encourage sustainable use and enjoyment of public lands and waters. Learn more and take action to join us in supporting this legislation.