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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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Great Falls Catawba Releases Delayed Until Next Spring (SC)

05/10/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

The start of flow releases on the Great Falls of the Catawba have unfortunately been delayed from this August to next spring. The pace and scale of work being done on the hydropower project and related lands to support releases is extraordinary, and while disappointed we are confident that the delay is merited. American Whitewater will continue to work with Duke Power and the community of Great Falls to be ready for releases next March. Starting in March releases will occur every week or two through October, at nearly 3000 cfs in each channel. 

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Nantahala Pisgah Forest Plan Released, Improvements Sought (NC)

03/24/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater has been actively working on the new Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest’s management plan for almost a decade. The plan covers 1.1 million acres of public lands in Western North Carolina and some of the finest whitewater paddling anywhere. Our goals for the new plan were to increase river protections, improve recreational management, and build broad support for future Congressional Wild and Scenic River designations. Along the way we made a lot of friends, including many Forest Service staff and all the members of the collaborative brain-trust that is the Nantahala Pisgah Forest Partnership. The new forest plan was released in late January, and it includes both triumphs and disappointments for river enthusiasts. Earlier this week, American Whitewater filed two pre-decisional appeals (called objections) of the proposed Forest Plan. 

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Expect Atypical Nantahala Flows This Spring and Possibly Longer (NC)

03/14/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

Duke Energy has announced that they can only generate power and release water from the powerhouse at 50% of their normal capacity on the Nantahala River due to the failure of a transformer. The powerhouse is now capable of releasing 315 cfs versus the typical 630 cfs, and these conditions are likely to persist through May, and possibly considerably longer. Duke Energy will be releasing flows from the dam into the Upper Nantahala, which is normally bypassed by a tunnel between the dam and the powerhouse, in order to maintain reservoir levels and meet downstream recreational release requirements.

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Ask the National Forest Not To Pass on Davidson River Dam Removal (NC)

03/03/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

The Forest Service is proposing to rebuild and enlarge the existing Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery along the Davidson River without removing the dam that diverts water into the facility. American Whitewater and many partner groups (including angling groups) believe that there are water withdrawal options that do not require a dam on the Davidson River, and would like to see the dam removed as part of the renovations. We encourage regional paddlers to submit a comment on this project requesting that dam removal occur as part of this project. 

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Nolichucky River Wild and Scenic Designation Update (NC/TN)

01/12/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

What’s up with the Nolichucky? We get this question a lot here at AW, and it’s a good one. As recent news articles have reported, regional efforts to designate the 7.2 mile Nolichucky River Gorge as the region's next Wild and Scenic River are currently stalled at the county level. Right now county leaders are neutral and support is vast among regional citizens. We remain hopeful that these counties and others in Western North Carolina will honor and celebrate rivers like the Noli that paddlers know deserve Wild and Scenic status. Here at American Whitewater we’ll keep working with local leaders and citizens to protect some of the region’s best whitewater rivers, including the Noli.

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2022 Advanced Southeast Release Schedule Set!

12/06/2021 - 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. We strive to create a schedule with minimal conflicts to maximize recreational value. Read on for the 2022 dates for the Class IV/V Cheoah, Nantahala Cascades & Upper, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah rivers. 

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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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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.


Associated Projects

Chattooga Headwaters (NC)

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

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.

Clean Water Act

American Whitewater's advocacy to protect water quality.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Associated Rivers

Upcoming Events

Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

November 2022

S M T W T F S
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
Cheoah Release
08:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard Saturday Release1000-1000 cfs

Tallulah
08:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard Saturday Release, note that you can't put on until the water stabilizes. 500 cfs

6
Tallulah
08:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard Sunday Release700 cfs

7
8
9
10
11
12
Tallulah
08:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard Saturday Release, note that you can't put on until the water stabilizes. 500 cfs

13
Tallulah
08:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard Sunday Release700 cfs

14
15
16
17
18
19
Tallulah
08:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard Saturday Release, note that you can't put on until the water stabilizes. 500 cfs

20
Tallulah
08:00 am -4:00 pm america/new_york
Standard Sunday Release700 cfs

21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
1
2
3

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 - 08/20/22, next 06/04/22
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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 - 09/26/21
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Cheoah Release Robbinsville,NC runs 02/22/14 - 11/05/22, next 05/28/22
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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 - 11/20/22, next 11/05/22
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Catawba Bridgewater Dam Release Glen Alpine,NC runs 04/28/18 - 10/28/18
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  (iCal)  

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