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AW in the MidAtlantic

American Whitewater has a long history of working in the Mid-Atlantic. Our regional conservation and access program is directed towards securing recreational releases from dams and securing public access points to rivers, which would otherwise be lost due to development. Our work on securing releases on the Gauley and Yough (both Upper and Lower) have proven integral to developing regional rural economic strategies and building sustainable commercial markets for eco-tourism opportunities. We are lucky that West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland have fairly strong navigability and public access laws; however we are vigilant for any legislation that would reduce the public right to float. We are also increasingly concerned about the state of water quality in the Mid-Atlantic and the effect of surface mining and extractive mountain top mining removal in which unusable dross is simply pushed into sensitive headwaters streams and creeks.

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How to Enjoy the Upcoming Savage River Release (MD)

05/24/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

The Savage River releases are on the calendar for 2021 with some changes in how to enjoy them. Commercial shuttles are now a thing of the past on the Savage, and with that comes new responsibilities for paddlers. It is vitally important that paddlers visit the Savage River responsibly so these releases can continue. Enjoy!

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New Virginia River Access Fee Program Delayed Until 2022

02/11/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

The media is reporting that the new fee program affecting river access areas owned and managed by Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources river access areas has been delayed one year, from starting in July of 2021, to instead starting in July of 2022. The delay is to allow for additional input and reconsideration of how the program should be implemented, apparently specifically to reduce impacts on outfitters. A committee will review the new law and make recommendations on possible improvements. American Whitewater encourages Virginia paddlers to get involved through their state legislators, through club participation in the committee, and through any public comment opportunity.

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Dam Repairs to Affect Flows in New River Gorge and Dries (WV)

01/21/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

The Bluestone Dam blocks the New River not far upstream of the popular New River Gorge and New River Dries, and is currently undergoing significant repairs. These repairs will keep 9 of the 16 gates out of service until 2027, allowing for total releases of around only 12,000cfs. This management will dampen high flows, resulting in longer and more moderate flows than naturally occur in the river. Intriguingly, these releases will regularly overwhelm the 10,000cfs maximum diversion of the Hawks Nest Hydroelectric Project, and result in more frequent and predictable spill releases into the New River Dries.

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Comments Can Help Shape Summersville Lake Management (WV)

01/19/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

A new Draft Master Plan for Summersville Lake, which provides releases on the Gauley River, is open for public comment until February 16, 2021. The Draft Plan covers the significant public land surrounding the reservoir, including Battle Run Campground, several trails, numerous rock climbing areas, and boat ramps. Unfortunately the Plan does not cover water releases, which the Agency states are covered by a seperate plan. Paddlers that use these lands are encouraged to review and comment on the Draft Plan. 

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New Fee Program Comes to Some Virginia Access Areas

01/15/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

Last year the Virginia Legislature passed a new law into effect that requires the public to pay a fee to use river access areas that are managed by the Department of Wildlife Resources. The new fees kicked in January 1, 2021, and the program is outlined in news articles as well as on the Department's website. If you do not have a fishing license, the fees are $23 for an annual pass or $4 per day for a day-pass. The legislation seems to have passed with little discussion or public outreach, and caught many paddlers off guard. American Whitewater conducted a mapping analysis of the effects of this new fee program, and found that it applies new fees to at least 67 public access areas located on whitewater runs. Paddlers are encouraged to let their state legislators know they feel about the newly legislated fee system. 

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Changes to Upper Yough Permit Yield April Saturday Releases (MD)

11/09/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

The State of Maryland issued a new permit for the Deep Creek Hydroelectric Project earlier this fall that offered the river and its visitors some incremental enhancements to the flow release program. The State hosted several public meetings during 2020 and considered public comments to help shape the new permit, which typically lasts for roughly a decade. The most important change for paddlers is that moving forward, recreational releases in April will be on Saturdays rather than Fridays. Big thanks to paddlers who attended meetings and submitted comments, and to the State of Maryland for keeping the Upper Yough awesome.

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Midnight Miracle at Kanawha Falls

11/09/2020 - by Charlie Walbridge

A Tennessee kayaker was rescued after spending 8 hours trapped behind the veil of Kanawha Falls, a 15 foot drop located below the confluence of the New and Gauley Rivers in West Virginia. The victim was paddling alone; a fisherman spotted his loose kayak and notified authorities. Top expert kayakers from Fayetteville, WV teamed up with WV-DNR officers and first responders to locate and rescue the man. Read their remarkable first-person accounts in the American Whitewater Accident Database: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Accident/detail/accidentid/112642

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AW Wins Court Battle Protecting Green River (VT) Boating

09/21/2018 - by Robert Nasdor

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.


Related Groups

Sign up to join the Sultan River (WA) working group and stay informed on issues related to improving flows through hydropower relicensing.

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Sign up to join the Sultan River (WA) working group and stay informed on issues related to improving flows through hydropower relicensing.

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Associated Projects

Clean Water Act

American Whitewater's advocacy to protect water quality.

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Gauley River (WV)

For many years AW has worked on the protection of this river and advocated for public access.

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Lehigh River (PA)

AW has worked with local paddling clubs to improve the recreational value of dam releases on the Lehigh

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Upper Yough Access (MD)

AW collaboratively manages the put in for the Upper Youghiogheny River in Western Maryland.

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Upper Yough Releases (MD)

American Whitewater worked closely with local paddlers and other stakeholders to negotiate an improved flow regime on the Upper Yough.

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Virginia Access

Virginia has some superb rivers and river access laws among the worst in the Nation. American Whitewater is working to assure the basic right to float down a stream in Virginia.

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Upcoming Events

Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

September 2021

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American Whitewater Gauley Fest


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American Whitewater Gauley Fest


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American Whitewater Gauley Fest


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American Whitewater Gauley Fest


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Savage River Release
10:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard scheduled Savage whitewater release1000-600 cfs

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Events
Lehigh River Release White Haven,PA runs 05/10/08 - 08/18/19
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Tohickon Creek Point Pleasant,PA runs 05/20/06 - 11/03/19
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Gauley Releases Summersville,WV runs 09/09/05 - 10/20/19
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Potomac, North Branch Release Luke,MD runs 08/26/06 - 05/20/18
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Upper Yough Release Friendsville,MD runs 04/15/05 - 10/13/17
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Savage River Release Luke,MD runs 09/09/07 - 09/25/21, next 09/25/21
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American Whitewater Gauley Fest Summersville,WV runs 09/15/12 - 09/19/21, next 09/17/21
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Great Falls Race Great Falls,MD runs 07/04/15 - 07/04/15
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North Branch Potomac Luke,MD runs 04/15/17 - 05/26/19
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New River Dries Release (WV) Gauley Bridge,WV runs 03/23/19 - 07/17/21
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Stonycreek Releases 2019 Johnstown,PA runs 04/20/19 - 10/20/19
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Stonycreek Rendezvous Johnstown,PA runs 05/17/19 - 05/19/19
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CANCELLED-Lehigh Riverfest 2020-CANCELLED Weatherly,PA runs 08/28/20 - 08/30/20
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