Aspen, CO - Dave Eckardt, otherwise known as “Dangerous Dave” of Aspen, Colorado passed away earlier this month. A hero in the Colorado kayaking community of the 1980's, Dave is known by many as the co-author of the first kayak "bible" Colorado Rivers and Creeks, and for his dominance at the Gore Canyon Races. Dave will be deeply missed.
This week American Whitewater kicked off our involvement with the relicensing of Felt Dam on the Teton River, near Tetonia, Idaho. The process will take several years and will result in a new 30-50 year license for this hydropower project, which bisects a Class V reach and a Class III(IV) reach of the Teton River.
There are two upcoming opportunities to have your voice heard on the future of the Saint Vrain Watershed. These are the first of many opportunities for the community to engage in the St. Vrain Left Hand Stream Management Plan (SMP) process. Join us for either or both events to learn more about the plan, provide input on your vision and values for the watershed, and identify opportunity areas. It's important for paddlers to show up and represent our interests in terms of identifying safety risks along the river such as low head dams, access areas, opportunites for artificial whitewater features and adequate flow levels for paddling. There is also this project survey that can be filled out if you are unable to attend either event.
Our partners at the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRLC) Need Your Help To Stop Centennial Dam by attending a rally and meeting next Tuesday, October 9th. Neveda Irrigation District (NID) will vote at a special meeting to cease spending on the dam proposal and focus on their Raw Water Master Plan (RWMP). Plans for the proposed Centennial Dam threaten 91 miles of whitewater resources on the Yuba River watershed and would permanently flood whitewater sections on the Bear River.
New limited edition American Whitewater 50th Anniversary Wild & Scenic Rivers Act gear available this week only! Shirts, tanks and hoodies for both ladies and men! Support wild rivers and earn style points at the same time. We're extremely excited to partner with FLOAT to bring this river stewardship supporting gear. For every item sold FLOAT donates $8+ to American Whitewater to help fund our stewardship programs. Head on over to FLOAT and shop today!
Glen Tsaparas of Falls Church, Virginia is the recipient of our Volunteer of the Month award after another year of generously sharing countless hours at American Whitewater’s biggest event of the year, Gauley Fest. Glen has been leading the Silent Auction team for over 15 years with his trusted paddling crew Jimmy, Shane and Liz. Glen has only missed two Gauley Fest’s in thirty years, has always been willing to go above and beyond, and is a lifetime member of American Whitewater.
Jeff Venturino is recognized as Volunteer of the Month for his outstanding work as the Volunteer Coordinator for American Whitewater's Feather River Festival! Recruiting and coordinating over 90 volunteers, Jeff also roped his Mom, Laura Montagna, into manning the ever important AW Membership Booth. Jeff is a Davis-based paddler, biologist, and seasonal kayak instructor for California Canoe and Kayak. He is passionate about enabling new lifelong paddlers and river advocates to help fight for free-flowing and beautiful rivers.
Paddlers now have an important opportunity to oppose Forest Service plans to strip proposed protections from 89 rivers in central Idaho. The Forest Service really needs to hear from paddlers from across the country and it takes just a few minutes to send them a letter. This is a big deal for almost 1,000 miles of outstanding whitewater rivers and streams.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, filmmaker Shane Anderson and Pacific Rivers, American Rivers and American Whitewater released the new film Run Wild, Run Free. The film tells the story of the origins of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the bi-partisan spirit that ushered the bill into law, and the courageous people that stood up and demanded protection for the remaining free-flowing and wild rivers. The film will be available online for a limited 3 day run.
The U.S. Forest Service has recently initiated a process to develop a Comprehensive River Management Plan for the 27 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and the entirety of the Pratt River that were designated Wild and Scenic in 2014. Paddlers are encourage to provide input online and/or attend the planning workshops planned for October 11th.
The Vermont Superior Court sided with American Whitewater in a long-running dispute with the state over whitewater boating on the Green River in Morrisville. The Court overturned state restrictions that would have eliminated any meaningful opportunity for boaters to enjoy this extraordinary river and required scheduled releases in a ground breaking decision.
Today, September 5, marked the close of the public review process for the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report. The Evaluation Phase is the second step of 4 different steps required in the assessment of lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). American Whitewater thoroughly reviewed the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report and submitted our comments to the Forest Service on September 4, 2018. Overall, we found that key paddling reaches throughout the GMUG area were greatly under-represented in the Polygon narratives and thus weren't acknowledged as contributing factors to the Polygon's respective Wilderness Ratings. We let the Forest Service know this, highlighting specific paddling reaches that should be added to each Polygon and which Polygons we believe should have a higher Wilderness Rating based on the high-quality recreation opportunities that each area has to offer.
Please stay tuned as we continue to report on the GMUG Land Management Revision Process and in the meantime you can learn more about the GMUG here. (Photo of Josh King by Nick Spitzer)
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.
August 2, 2018, the President's signature marked the exciting finale of nearly a decade of efforts to protect Montana's East Rosebud Creek from hydropower development and other impacts. Twenty miles of this beautiful stream were designated as a Wild and Scenic River as it flows from the rugged Beartooth Mountains between Big Timber and Red Lodge, Montana. East Rosebud is treasured by local residents, paddlers, anglers, hikers, and other visitors.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the creation of an endowment to promote safety education and outreach. The endowment will support “promoting whitewater safety, responsible on-river behavior, safety education and outreach, and maintenance of the American Whitewater Safety Code and Whitewater Accident Database.’ Anyone wishing to add to the fund can simply make a donation to American Whitewater here and include safety education in the comment field of the donation.
The Senate yesterday passed Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte’s bill that protects 20 miles of the East Rosebud in south-central Montana as part of the Wild and Scenic River System. Here at American Whitewater we are overjoyed by the bill's passage, and would like to thank the entire Montana delegation for working together in a bi-partisan way to protect this wonderful stream.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce that a free iPhone App is now available that shares realtime details on the over 5,500 whitewater runs in our National Whitewater Inventory. The new location-enabled app allows paddlers to learn about nearby rivers within a selected distance or state, and safely pick trips that meet their group’s skill level, flow preferences, and timeframe. It offers enhanced mapping and links paddlers to the rich crowd-sourced information and river-related news on the American Whitewater website.
As we head towards Upper Yough Race Day (July 29th) in Friendsville it's time to recognize some people who make access to the river easier. Thanks to Jess Whittemore the Town of Friendsville for creating the parking lot. Thanks to hundreds of paddlers who stay clear of residential areas on Water Street, patronize local businesses, and contribute to AW's Access Fund in Sang Run or on line. And a special thank you to Don Millard who has mowed the access areas in both Friendsville and Sang Run to keep our access costs low. If not for him you'd probably see a parking fee of $5 a head at both ends! Keep the good times coming! Don't forget to contribute!! Jeff Macklin photo.
This past fall American Whitewater met with Ohiopyle State Park managers to discuss possible updates to their whitewater paddling regulations. The first topic was to change the rules governing raft sizes at different water levels to recognize the capabilities of self-bailing rafts. Shorter self-bailing boats will now be allowed to run the river at high water. Some small changes to the regulations will make Ohiopyle Falls more accessible to paddlers. A change in the way the gauge is interpreted should make the falls "legal" on more days. Although whitewater paddlers are only one part of the vast public that visits the park, every effort was made to accommodate them while avoiding user conflicts and safety hazards. Special thanks goes to Ken Bisbee, Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager and John Hallas, a former Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager who is now Director of State Parks. Click here to read the updated Ohiopyle River Regulations:
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.
On November 8th, 2017, the House passed H.R. 3043, the “Hydropower Policy Modernization Act.” H.R. 3043 undermines the current hydropower licensing process, which is a key tool for protecting and restoring rivers impacted by privately and municipally owned and operated dams. The bill moves to the Senate next.â€¨â€¨ You can help by reaching out to your Senators and encouraging them to stand up for rivers as they consider hydropower legislation.
ARKANSAS RIVER, Colo. - The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) is revising their Management Plan for the first time since 2001. The new Draft Plan was made publicly available in October and the AHRA is accepting public comments through November 10, 2017 (next week!). In order to design effective and productive comments, American Whitewater has thoroughly reviewed the Draft Plan, discussed the Plan with our local Affiliate Clubs, attended AHRA Public Open Houses, and reached out to key members of the local paddling community. To make it easy for you to SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS, American Whitewater staff have compiled our key concerns and comments for your review.