New York State Electric and Gas blocked access to the Ausable River downstream of their Rainbow Falls project for many years. AW worked through the dam relicensing process for over 6 years to force the power company to allow public access. Every step was a challenge. Even though federal law requires dam owners to allow public access and portage, the dam owner consistently refused to agree to public access.
When FERC initially analyzed the situation they agreed with us that access was possible, legal, and a benefit to the public - yet recommended against access. AW cried foul and convinced FERC to order access in their final order. The license required the previously thwarted flow study to be completed, which it was in 2005.
Paddlers found a spectacular and truly unique class IV river set in a deep and narrow chasm. Portage and scouting at river level was easy, and most paddlers wanted to do laps. A wide range of flows were found to provide boating opportunities, including levels frequently and naturally present in the summer and fall.
After numerous decisions, appeals, and even intimidation tactics from the Ausable Chasm Company, the river was eventually opened to public access on June 18, 2010. While a major victory on a remarkable river, we remain disappointed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allows the power company to lock the public out of the river from November through the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. With this said, we hope paddlers enjoy the summer and fall opportunities to enjoy the Ausable Chasm!
Ausable River Access Update
07/20/2010 - by Kevin Colburn
Efforts by the Ausable Chasm Company to discourage legal public enjoyment of the Ausable River through intimidation have not thus far resulted in the State of New York filing any trespassing charges against paddlers. The State generally supports recreational use of its navigable rivers like the Ausable. Paddlers wanting to paddle the river are encouraged to read this article before their trip and make their own decision on whether or not to paddle.
Ausable Chasm Company Resists Public Access
06/21/2010 - by Kevin Colburn
Last weekend marked a major success for the paddling community: federally mandated river access at the power company lands at the put in for the Ausable Chasm. Unfortunately, in a surprize move the Ausable Chasm Company, which owns the land in the river corridor, had police onsite to write trespassing tickets for several paddlers.American Whitewater is seeking legal assistance regarding this matter. If you are an attorney in the State of New York and are interested in this issue, please promptly contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ausable River to Open June 18, 2010!
06/14/2010 - by Kevin Colburn
New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), under an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), plans to open New York's Ausable Chasm to paddlers on Friday, June 18th, 2010. American Whitewater would like to thank our volunteer Jared Hogle for all his assistance on this project. In addition, it is likely that more paddlers sent FERC comments on this issue than on any other FERC project in the Country. Congratulations to all of you, and we wish you many great runs on the Ausable!
Jared Hogle Named AW Volunteer of the Month Presented by Kokatat
12/01/2009 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater is pleased to recognize Jared Hogle as our Volunteer of the Month for December, 2009. Jared was and remains the leading local advocate for access to New York's Ausable Chasm and other regional rivers. In recognition of his efforts Jason will be receiving an OuterCore Long-Sleeve Shirt from Kokatat!
FERC Grants Seasonal Access to Ausable - AW Appeals Decision
06/01/2009 - by Kevin Colburn
Today, American Whitewater filed a formal challenge of a May 1, 2009 decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to prohibit public boating access to New York’s Ausable River for 7 months of the year, while allowing access the other 5 months. Securing 5 months each year of public river access to this incomparable river - after decades of no access whatsoever - is certainly a major success for American Whitewater and the paddling community. While we are challenging the unfounded 7-month annual closure, we would like to thank the many paddlers and organizations that wrote FERC in favor of public access to the Ausable River over the past several years.
Ausable Study Finally Released (NY)
04/11/2007 - by Kevin Colburn
The report on paddling access to the Ausable River has finally been issued: late, incomplete, biased, and erroneous. All of the data in the study support year round paddling access, and the data is generally accurate and defensible. The dam owner, New York State Electric and Gas, has maintained its position however that no access should be allowed to the beautiful Class IV river. It is now up to FERC, and AW and KCCNY will be filing comments this week requesting year round access.
The contacts below include staff and volunteers working on this project. Make sure you are logged in if you wish to join the group.
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