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AW in the NorthWest

American Whitewater has an active program in the Pacific Northwest. Our regional conservation program features a focus on dam relicensing and continued protection of key watersheds on public land. While we are lucky that many of our rivers flow through public land we are not without access issues. The Skykomish remains one of our top ten access issues.

Releases in Idaho's Milner Mile Likely This Spring

posted March 10, 2017
by Kevin Colburn
article photo 2

Idaho Power announced today that "flows of 10,000 cfs or greater in the Class V whitewater Milner Gorge Reach (Milner Mile) below Milner Dam on the Snake River are likely to be available during April 2017." In most years the hydropower project removes so much water from the Milner Gorge that whitewater paddling is not possible at any time. In high water years like this one though, the power company must release flows into the big, powerful Class V run known to paddlers as the Milner Mile.

Wild Olympics Act Reintroduced as Local Support Increases (WA)

posted March 1, 2017
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The Wild Olympics Coalition, a locally-based coalition that includes American Whitewater, cheered the reintroduction of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer to permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Public Hearing for Proposed Non-Motorized Boating Program in Oregon

posted February 26, 2017
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The Oregon State Marine Board proposal to establish a Non-Motorized Boating Program is moving through the state legislature and is set for a hearing on March 1st. We encourage our Oregon members to share their thoughts with their representatives in the state legislature.

TAKE ACTION: Protect Methow Headwaters

posted January 31, 2017
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The Bureau of Land Management is currently accepting public comment on a proposal to protect the Methow Headwaters from an industrial-scale copper mine above the town of Mazama. The proposed mine would negatively impact the incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Methow Valley. A strong show of public support will be required to secure protection for this river valley.

TAKE ACTION! Restore the Snake River (WA)

posted January 27, 2017
by Megan Hooker
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We have a once in a generation opportunity to restore one of the greatest river systems of the world–the Columbia and the Snake­–by removing four outdated and expensive dams on the lower Snake River. Federal agencies are accepting public comment on the future of the Columbia and Snake River dams through February 7th, 2017, and your voices are important to this process! Unlocking the lower Snake River is not only the single most effective thing that we can do to restore wild salmon runs, but it will also restore whitewater opportunities on the mainstem Snake and enhance them in key upper tributaries.

BLM and USFS Issue 20 Year Protection for Kalmiopsis Rivers! (CA/OR)

posted January 13, 2017
by Megan Hooker
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On January 12, 2017, the BLM and Forest Service announced a 20-year halt to new mining activities in the watersheds of the North Fork Smith, Illinois, Pistol River and Hunter Creek in Oregon. American Whitewater celebrates this important milestone with the conservation and recreation partners that we've worked with, and thanks Representatives DeFazio and Huffman and Senators Wyden and Merkley for their dedication to protecting this place. And we thank YOU too for standing up for these wild rivers!

Governor Inslee's Budget Proposes Strong Investment in Outdoor Recreation (WA)

posted December 20, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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This past week Washington Governor Jay Inslee released his state budget, including a $100 million commitment to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. As a kayaker and outdoor enthusiast himself, the Governor recognizes that investment in outdoor recreation is good for the state economy, promotes a healthy active lifestyle, and is a defining character of the quality of life we enjoy in Washington State. Earlier this year American Whitewater joined with our partners in the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition to request $120 million for this program and the Governor's budget represents a strong commitment towards our aspirational ask.

Seeking Input on Oregon's Proposed Non-Motorized Boating Program

posted December 4, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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For the past five years the Oregon State Marine Board has been engaging with the non-motorized boating community to learn how the Marine Board can better meet the needs of the community. The state's Non-Motorized Boating Advisory Committee made a unanimous recommendation to institute a Non-Motorized Boating Program that includes elements to address access, safety, education and funding. As an outcome of this process the Marine Board is proposing legislation for the 2017 legislative session that includes a new fee for paddlesports. We are seeking paddler input on this proposal.

New Dam Proposed for Chehalis River (WA)

posted November 9, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The Chehalis Basin is the second largest river basin in Washington State. It is a uniquely fertile and abundant river basin, but it has suffered from devastating flooding for decades. One proposal to address the chronic flooding issue is construction of a new dam that would represent the largest new dam in Washington State in years on a currently free-flowing river. A public comment period is now open on this project through November 14th.

Developer Ends Effort to Build Hydropower Project on Ernie's Gorge (WA)

posted October 13, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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In an important victory for Ernie’s Gorge and rivers of the Pacific Northwest, we learned earlier today that Black Canyon Hydro LLC was withdrawing its application for the Black Canyon Hydropower Project, FERC P-14110). This project would have dewatered the North Fork Snoqualmie River severely impacting native rainbow and cutthroat trout, posed a risk to the City of Snoqualmie’s water supply, and irreversibly harmed a world-class kayak run.

Public Process for Snake River Dams Underway

posted September 30, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Public Scoping Hearings have been scheduled this fall in Washington State, Oregon, Idaho and Montana to discuss the fate of Snake River Dams and their impact on salmon resources in the Snake River Watershed. We are encouraging the paddling community to engage in this public process which has implications for the overall health of the Snake River ecosystem and tributaries like the Lochsa, Selway, and Salmon River.

Plan for Index-Galena Road Repairs on North Fork Sky Open for Comment (WA)

posted September 30, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Snohomish County Public Works has published the long-awaited Environmental Assessment for repairs on the Index-Galena Road that historically provided access to the North Fork Skykomish River for whitewater boaters. Public input will be considered in agency decision making on whether repair of this important access road will move forward. The deadline for comments is October 31, 2016.

Volunteer of the Month: Luke Spencer and Pete Giordano

posted July 7, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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As our volunteers of the month, we wish to recognize Luke Spencer and Pete Giordano who spent countless hours in meetings and site visits to make new improved access to the Clackamas River a reality. In recognition of Luke's and Pete's efforts, they will each receive a custom Kokatat X-Jacket, thanks to Kokatat's support of AW's Volunteer of the Month award.Thank you Luke and Pete!

License Denied for New Dam on Bear River (ID)

posted June 18, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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This week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioned (FERC) issued a final order denying a license for the Twin Lakes Canal Company’s proposal to build a 109-foot-tall hydroelectric dam on the Bear River in southeast Idaho. American Whitewater and our partners have worked diligently for over 14 years to protect the Oneida Narrows section of the Bear River, and we’re celebrating this final decision, which will keep this section of river freely flowing!

Governor Appeal to Protect Spokane River (WA) Flows

posted May 31, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Advocates for the Spokane River are asking Gov. Jay Inslee to grant their petition for protecting all instream values of the Spokane River, including recreational boating opportunities. This is the next step in the citizens’ quest to protect Spokane River flows. A petition was filed in February with the Washington Department of Ecology, and rejected by the agency in April.

Governor Signs Bridge Access Bill in Washington!

posted March 28, 2016
by Thomas O'Keefe
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On Friday, March 25, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed our bridge access bill (Substitute Senate Bill 6363) into law. The bill requires that the Department of Transportation evaluate public access for state highway projects that include building or re-constructing a bridge across a navigable waterway.  

Upcoming Events

Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

September 2017

Cispus River Open Gate Days
09:00 am -5:00 pm pst

North Fork Rogue Releases
10:00 am -4:00 pm est
8/19 250cfs, 8/20 up to 450cfs, 9/3 250cfs, 9/4 up to 450cfs

Cispus River Open Gate Days
09:00 am -5:00 pm pst

Cispus River Open Gate Days
09:00 am -5:00 pm pst

North Fork Rogue Releases
10:00 am -4:00 pm est
8/19 250cfs, 8/20 up to 450cfs, 9/3 250cfs, 9/4 up to 450cfs

Cispus River Open Gate Days
09:00 am -5:00 pm pst

Chelan Gorge release
10:00 am -5:00 pm pst
Sat 375 cfs, Sun 400 cfs

Cispus River Open Gate Days
09:00 am -5:00 pm pst

Chelan Gorge release
10:00 am -5:00 pm pst
Sat 375 cfs, Sun 400 cfs


Wenatchee River Festival Cashmere,WA runs 06/09/12 - 07/09/16
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Northwest Creeking Competition Yacolt,WA runs 04/21/12 - 04/10/16
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North Fork Rogue Releases Prospect,OR runs 07/18/09 - 09/04/17, next 08/19/17
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Cispus River Open Gate Days Morton,WA runs 01/28/17 - 11/04/17, next 04/28/17
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Chelan Gorge release Chelan,WA runs 07/11/09 - 09/16/18, next 09/16/17
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SkyFest Index,WA runs 07/04/13 - 05/08/16
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Green River Cleanup Black Diamond, WA,WA runs 05/05/12 - 05/06/17, next 05/06/17
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Sultan River Whitewater Release Sultan,WA runs 04/25/15 - 05/06/17, next 05/06/17
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Associated Projects

  • Canyon Creek (WA)
    This spectacular creek has been threatened by a proposal for hydropower development.
  • Celestial Falls (OR)
    Conservation and enjoyment of the waterfall is important for AW
  • Chelan (WA)
    AW has worked to restore flows and provide public access to the Chelan Gorge
  • Cispus River Access (WA)
    AW has been working to enforce requirements for public access to the Cispus River.
  • Clackamas Stewardship (OR)
    AW has been a stakeholder in licensing of the hydroelectric projects on this river and protection of key tributaries through the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
  • Clean Water Act
    American Whitewater's advocacy to protect water quality.
  • Conservation System
    The National Landscape Conservation System represents the crown jewels of BLM lands and rivers.
  • Elwha Restoration (WA)
    The Elwha River will be restored by removing two dams that have blocked salmon and degraded recreational opportunities on one of the Pacific Northwest's most spectacular rivers.
  • Green River (WA)
    AW works with partners to protect flows and the scenic landscape of the Green River Gorge.
  • Greenway Whitewater (WA)
    The Mountains to Sound Greenway stretches over 100 miles along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Central Washington. AW is engaged in promoting stewardship and protection of the rivers in this corridor.
  • Hood River Access
    American Whitewater is committed to securing public access for the Hood River and its major tributaries.
  • Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)
    American Whitewater is working to protect the wild rivers of Southwestern Oregon and Northern California from the threats of nickel strip mines.
  • Klamath Restoration (OR & CA)
    AW supports restoration of the Klamath River for the benefit of salmon while providing appropriate opportunities for whitewater recreation.
  • Middle Fork Snoqualmie (WA)
    AW has been working on resource stewardship along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie in Washington and protecting this drainage for the incredible recreational opportunities it provides.
  • Milner Whitewater (ID)
    AW supports the efforts of local paddlers who have advocated for whitewater recreation on the Milner Mile.
  • Nooksack Stewardship (WA)
    Public access, hydropower development, and resource stewardship are all ongoing issues on this river system.
  • North Fork Rogue (OR)
    We worked to restore flows, provide public access, and made flow information available to provide boating opportunities on this river.
  • North Fork Snoqualmie- WA
    American Whitewater is committed to the conservation of the North Fork Snoqualmie.
  • Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (WA)
    The Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests are home to some great whitewater runs and AW has in interest in protecting the resource values of these rivers.
  • Oregon Navigability
    AW works to keep the rivers of Oregon open and accessible to the boating public.
  • Owyhee Conservation
    American Whitewater advocates for the protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands.
  • Protecting the Ashlu (BC)
    A hydropower project is now being constructed on this wonderful creek in Southwest British Columbia.
  • Puyallup Watershed (WA)
    Major rivers of the Puyallup watershed include the Carbon, Puyallup, and White which drain the western and northern slopes of Mt. Rainier which we are working to preserve and protect.
  • Restoring the Rogue (OR)
    One of the great Rivers of the West, preserving the the Wild Rogue and restoring upstream reaches impacted by dams are priorities for American Whitewater.
  • Similkameen River (BC/WA)
    American Whitewater supports conservation and restoration of the Similkameen River.
  • Skagit Wild and Scenic (WA)
    Public access, riparian protection, and effective resource stewardship are all important to management of the Skagit Wild and Scenic River.
  • Skykomish Stewardship (WA)
    AW is actively engaged in the conservation of the Skykomish River and its tributaries and advocacy for public access.
  • Snake River Restoration (ID, OR, WA)
    AW is working with a coalition of partners to restore the Snake and Salmon Rivers in Idaho for fish and paddlers.
  • Sullivan Creek (WA)
    Two dams in the Sullivan Creek watershed no longer generate power. One will be removed as the result of a 2010 Settlement Agreement.
  • Sultan River (WA)
    AW is working to improve flows and public access for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and paddlers as part of hydropower relicensing on this river.
  • Sunset Falls Hydropower Development
    Sunset Falls on the Skykomish River has been proposed for hydropower development.
  • Susitna (AK)
    A hydropower project on the Susitna would drown Devil's Canyon.
  • Volcano Country (OR/WA)
    The rivers of Volcano Country within and surrounding the Gifford Pinchot National Forest represent some of the nation's most spectacular whitewater resources.
  • White Salmon Restoration (WA)
    American Whitewater has been engaged in a long-term effort to protect and restore one of the Pacific Northwest's most spectacular year-around whitewater rivers.
  • Wild Olympics (WA)
    A campaign to protect the free-flowing rivers of the Olympic Peninsula.