Ausable Access (NY)

:stewardship:chasm_pinch.jpg New York State Electric and Gas has blocked access to the Ausable River downstream of their Rainbow Falls project for many years. AW worked through the dam relicensing process for at least 6 years to force the power company to allow public access. Every step has been a challenge. Even though fedreal 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.

As of late summer 2006, we are awaiting the LONG overdue flow study report, and will likely have to again advocate for access to the FERC in response to the study. We should have access in the spring of 2007 at the latest.

It has been a long road, but we are close to our destination on this one.

You can view a low water video(under 300cfs) to wet your appetite.

Ausable River Access Update

posted July 20, 2010
by Kevin Colburn
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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

posted June 21, 2010
by Kevin Colburn
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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 

Ausable River to Open June 18, 2010!

posted June 14, 2010
by Kevin Colburn
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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

posted December 1, 2009
by Kevin Colburn
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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

posted June 1, 2009
by Kevin Colburn
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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.

Last Chance for Ausable Access for 40 Years

posted June 29, 2007
by Kevin Colburn
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July 6th, 2007 is the last chance you will have to request paddling access to New York's Class IV Ausable Chasm for at least 40 years.  The chasm is truly a spectacular place, yet access has been blocked by a power company for decades.  The dam owner has finally completed their whitewater study, and they have formally requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allow them to continue blocking river access.  There is NO reason access should be limited in any way.   Any paddler that may want to paddle the Ausable River in the next 40 years should send FERC a quick letter requesting 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.

projects - Ausable Access (NY)

Title Name City
Kevin Colburn Missoula MT Details...

Associated Rivers

Ausable [NY]