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AW in the SouthEast

AW is in the final stages of several epic projects that will change the way we paddle in the Southeast. Remarkable volunteer efforts and the financial support of AW members have made this work possible. We have recently summarized the past 10 years of our efforts in the Southeast in our 2006 Southeastern Stewardship Report.

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Fall 2020 Tallulah Releases Cancelled Due To Covid-19

10/19/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

Tallulah Gorge State Park has determined that scheduled Tallulah Gorge whitewater releases for the fall of 2020 need to be cancelled to comply with their Covid-19 related policies. Access to the gorge floor has been closed to all visitors since March, and paddlers gathering at access areas and on the stairs would exceed their limits on people occupying areas of the Park. Representatives of American Whitewater and an affiliate club represented paddlers on a call today with the Park and power company. While disappointing, we are supportive of the cancellation and feel it is a fair application of current Park policies. We have asked that rescheduling cancelled releases in 2021 be open for discussion early next year.

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New USGS Gage Installed on Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek! (NC)

09/28/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater is pleased to announce the installation of a new online U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gage on Wilson Creek, one of North Carolina's five federally-designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. The new stream gage is the result of a partnership between American Whitewater, Duke Energy and the USGS, and is expected to provide significant public safety and recreational benefits. American Whitewater would like to thank Duke Energy and the USGS, on behalf of the paddling community, for this great investment in the safe enjoyment of Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek. 

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AW Objects to Brookfield Refusal to Reschedule Cheoah Releases (NC)

09/17/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

The owner of Santeetlah Dam, Brookfield, has refused requests to reschedule eight spring releases on the Cheoah River that were cancelled because of Covid-19. Today, American Whitewater filed a request asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require Brookfield make up at least half of the cancelled releases later this year. The request comes after Brookfield delayed a meeting to reschedule releases for three months and then flatly refused to provide any make-up releases. Similar releases on nearby dams operated by other owners were rescheduled willingly and without issue, and offered the public valuable late summer and early fall paddling opportunities.

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Upper Nantahala and WF Tuck Releases Rescheduled (NC) (CORRECTION)

08/19/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

This spring many dam releases had to be cancelled across the country due to Covid-19 related travel and staffing restrictions, including several releases on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee and Upper Nantahala. American Whitewater has worked with Duke Energy and other stakeholders to reschedule these releases for this fall! There will be rescheduled Upper Nantahala releases August 29 and September 12, and rescheduled West Fork Tuck releases October 17 and 25. Enjoy!

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New Watauga River Put In Open! (NC)

08/10/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

Today marks the official opening of the new Guy Ford River Access Area on the Watauga River. The paddling community has long sought permanent public access to the classic Watauga River Gorge which serves as a staple for Class IV+ paddlers throughout the region. American Whitewater owns and manages the Sherwood Horine Takeout thanks to donations and volunteers, and worked closely with the many individuals and organizations that purchased and developed the new put in. We'd like to offer our special thanks to volunteer Edgar Peck for his role in facilitating the new access site, and to all the paddlers who donated funds for its purchase. Check out a great write up of the new access site, and enjoy using it!

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Piney River and Tributaries Designated Scenic Rivers (TN)

07/14/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

On June 22, 2020, the Piney River, Little Piney River, and Duskin Creek, located near Spring City, became Tennessee's newest Scenic Rivers when the Governor signed a related bill into law. These creeks flow from the Cumberland Plateau down into deep cliff-lined canyons that are traversed by hikers, paddlers, and anglers. The creeks join adjacent Soak Creek as recently designated Scenic Rivers. American Whitewater and other paddling groups actively supported protection of these streams. The move recognizes that Tennessee is home to unique rivers and creeks that are a source of pride and rejuvenation for Tennesseans and should be protected for future generations.

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A Close Look at Cheoah River Fatalities

06/29/2020 - by Charlie Walbridge

The recent death of Chris Clark at Python Rapid on North Carolina's Cheoah River is the third at this site in the last six years. In each case, the person who died was an expert paddler and their paddling partners did not see exactly what happened. Let's take a close look at the Cheoah below Bear Creek Falls and develop strategies for future runs. The river here is very fast and continuous. After a fast lead-in (Chaos), the river drops over Bear Creek Falls, a 12' drop. Below, most of the flow pushes toward the river right channel (Python). Ferrying over to the easier river left channel (the West Prong) requires careful boat control. Python itself contains several nasty holes and sieves, with a bad hole blocked by a boulder at the bottom. There is a good route through it, but paddlers need to plan their route carefully. Scouting is a good idea for first timers, although catching eddies and getting out is not  going to be easy. Groups need to stay together.. The rapid is tough enough that you can't watch your buddy all the time, but you can be ready to help if needed. Click through for links to the accident reports, photos, and comments from expert Cheoah River paddlers. (Photo above by Boyd Ruppelt)

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Green River Release Schedule Set for 2020 (NC)

03/24/2020 - by Kevin Colburn

Last year, Northbrook Energy purchased the Tuxedo Hydropower Project from Duke Energy. This hydropower project provides the flows for the Class III+ Upper Green, the Class V Narrows, and the Class II Lower Green - all of which are popular whitewater runs. As the sale was underway, American Whitewater and others advocated for assurances in the contract that recreational releases would continue to follow a predictable pattern and be communicated as a forecast online. The contract contains these guarantees for the public, and earlier today river users got on the phone with the power company for a positive conversation confirming the 2020 schedule.

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Southeast Advanced Release Dates for 2020

12/18/2019 - by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater and our affiliate clubs have spent the past 25 years working to restore flows to incredible Southeastern rivers impacted by dams. A lot of our work has focused on Class II and III rivers like the lower Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Hiwassee, and Catawba, but we also secured releases in some classic steeper reaches previously dewatered by hydroelectric diversions. Each year we meet with power companies and agencies to schedule future releases, review ongoing ecology studies, and discuss any issues with the release programs. In this post we are pleased to share the 2020 dates for the Class IV/V Cheoah, Nantahala Cascades & Upper, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah rivers.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Boating Beta

07/01/2009 - by Mark Singleton

Keep this number for assistance in the Great Smoky Mountains Nation Park - (865) 436-1230. This number connects to the Park Dispatch Office and should be used in non-emergency situations. For boaters who regularly paddle in the Park it is advisable to program the number in your cell phone.


Upcoming Events

Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

October 2020

S M T W T F S
27
28
29
30
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
West Fork Tuck Gorge Release
10:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Make up release 250-250 cfs

18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Cheoah Release
08:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard Release1000-1000 cfs

25
West Fork Tuck Gorge Release
10:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Make up release - NOTE there will not be a release on 10/17 as originally planned. 250-250 cfs

26
27
28
29
30
31

Events
Nantahala River Releases Wesser,NC runs 03/10/08 - 11/14/18
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Pigeon Releases Hartford,TN runs 04/28/08 - 08/30/08
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Coosa Release Wetumpka,AL runs 05/31/10 - 05/31/15
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Ocoee #2, Middle Section Release Duckville,TN runs 03/15/08 - 10/28/12
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Ocoee #3, Upper Releases Duckville,TN runs 05/10/08 - 09/15/12
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French Broad Fall Fest Hot Springs,NC runs 09/22/12 - 09/22/12
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West Fork Tuck Gorge Release Glenville,NC runs 04/13/13 - 10/25/20, next 10/25/20
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Coosa Whitewater Festival Wetumpka,AL runs 05/02/14 - 05/04/14
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Upper Nantahala Release Topton, NC,NC runs 04/26/14 - 09/12/20
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Cheoah Release Robbinsville,NC runs 02/22/14 - 10/24/20, next 10/24/20
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Coosa River Whitewater Festival Wetumpka,AL runs 05/01/15 - 05/03/15
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Tallulah Tallulah Falls, GA,GA runs 04/01/17 - 11/17/19
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Catawba Bridgewater Dam Release Glen Alpine,NC runs 04/28/18 - 10/28/18
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Associated Projects

Chattooga Headwaters (NC)

The US Forest Service has banned boating on the upper 21 miles of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River.

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Cheoah River (NC)

AW and regional paddling clubs spent 5 years relicensing the dam on the Cheoah and scored a huge environmental and recreational victory.

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Clean Water Act

American Whitewater's advocacy to protect water quality.

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Little River Access (NC)

AW worked with the Dupont State Forest to lift the Forest's prohibition on whitewater paddling. Boating became legal in 2002.

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Nolichucky Wild and Scenic

A locally-driven effort to designate the 7.2 mile Nolichucky River Gorge, on public lands spanning the North Carolina - Tennessee border as a Wild and Scenic River.

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Tallulah Gorge (GA)

The dams on Tallulah Gorge were among the first rivers in the Southeast to be relicensed and wow what a classic whitewater river it has become.

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Tuckasegee Relicensing (NC)

AW signed a settlement calling for new dam releases, sweeping conservation measures, new access, and the removal of Dillsboro Dam in North Carolina.

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Associated Rivers

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