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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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Whitewater Wars Tells how the Ocoee and Gauley Were Saved

10/15/2020 - by Charlie Walbridge

From 1980 to 1985 David Brown lead successful battles to secure recreational water releases on both the Ocoee and Gauley Rivers. These great victories are the subject of his new book "Whitewater Wars." Dave was hired by outfitters on both rivers, and his efforts took him from the edge of the river to the halls of congress. On the Gauley a small cadre of private paddlers - Pete Skinner, Mac Thornton, Pope Barrow, Steve Taylor, and Charlie Walbridge - played important roles and later became the nucleus of an American Whitewater board that guided the organization towards it's current position as a national leader in river access and conservation. Dave ran the first Gauleyfest to help build support for protecting the river, and was excited to get 500 attendees! After the Gauley was declared a National Recreation Area the festival was passed over to AW. And the rest is history! It's a great read!

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Midnight Miracle at Kanawha Falls

10/06/2020 - by Charlie and Sandy 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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New River Dries to Flow Free This Fall (WV)

07/23/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

The owners of Hawks Nest Dam on the New River Dries is undertaking a thorough inspection of the Hawks Nest Tunnel this fall, something that has not been done since completion of the tunnel over 85 years ago. This work, slated to begin on September 8, 2020 and last for 60 days, will require drawing down the reservoir 20+ feet and will result in 2 months of natural flows in the New River Dries. The drawdown may also expose seldom-seen rapids on the New River beneath the Hawks Nest Reservoir. Enjoy this special fall Dries season!

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Six rivers added to the Virginia Scenic Rivers System

07/06/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

The Virginia Scenic Rivers Program turns 50 this year, and it just received quite the birthday gift - the addition of six rivers to the state scenic system, including the beloved Maury River! This milestone is further evidence that river designations are a broadly supported tool for communities to protect and celebrate the rivers that offer so much in terms of recreation, ecology, clean water, public health, and economic benefits.

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Don Millard - AW Super Upper Yough Access Volunteer!

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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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.


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American Whitewater Gauley Fest


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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 Savage River Dam,MD runs 09/09/07 - 09/28/19
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American Whitewater Gauley Fest Summersville,WV runs 09/15/12 - 09/19/21, next 09/16/21
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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 - 07/18/20
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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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Related Groups

Sultan Relicensing - Upper Yough Access (MD)

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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Sultan Relicensing - Upper Yough Releases (MD)

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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