AW in the West

The West may be known for its wide open spaces, yet boaters also recognize that many of the continent's mightiest rivers have their headwaters in this region, including the Colorado River and Salmon. Given the strict water law in these states, it's a wonder that the public is left any water to recreate on and the fish any water habitat to breed. Yet, with our focus on conservation and access, we are trying to protect the environment, rivers, and water that the public adores in this majestic landscape.

Voluntary River Closure Proposed On the Slate River (CO)

posted November 2, 2018
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 2

Crested Butte CO - Alleged disruption to a Heron Rookery and concerned private landowners have led to a "Voluntary Closure" of the Slate River from the Gunsight Bridge to the Town of Crested Butte between March 15 and June 21 for the 2019 season. The Slate River between Oh Be Joyful Campground and Skyland Bridge, a 10.5 mile stretch, provides an incredibly scenic and unique flatwater paddling experience in the Gunnison Valley. The Voluntary clsoure is a product of the Slate River Floating Management Plan, created by a Working Group convened by the Town of Crested Butte and the Crested Butte Land Trust. The Working Group was created in direct response to pressure from the local community including conservationists and private landowners adjacent to the river, who are concerned that a recent increase in boating activity is disturbing a Heron Rookery that straddles the Slate River. 

AW Weighs In On Teton River Dam Relicensing (ID)

posted October 15, 2018
by Kevin Colburn
article photo 2

This week American Whitewater kicked off our involvement with the relicensing of Felt Dam on the Teton River, near Tetonia, Idaho. The process will take several years and will result in a new 30-50 year license for this hydropower project, which bisects a Class V reach and a Class III(IV) reach of the Teton River. 

Take Action To Protect Lochsa Area Wild Rivers (ID)

posted October 2, 2018
by Kevin Colburn
article photo 2

Paddlers now have an important opportunity to oppose Forest Service plans to strip proposed protections from 89 rivers in central Idaho. The Forest Service really needs to hear from paddlers from across the country and it takes just a few minutes to send them a letter. This is a big deal for almost 1,000 miles of outstanding whitewater rivers and streams. 

AW Comments on Colorado Nat'l Forest Wilderness Process

posted September 5, 2018
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 2

Today, September 5, marked the close of the public review process for the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report. The Evaluation Phase is the second step of 4 different steps required in the assessment of lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). American Whitewater thoroughly reviewed the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report and submitted our comments to the Forest Service on September 4, 2018. Overall, we found that key paddling reaches throughout the GMUG area were greatly under-represented in the Polygon narratives and thus weren't acknowledged as contributing factors to the Polygon's respective Wilderness Ratings. We let the Forest Service know this, highlighting specific paddling reaches that should be added to each Polygon and which Polygons we believe should have a higher Wilderness Rating based on the high-quality recreation opportunities that each area has to offer. 

Please stay tuned as we continue to report on the GMUG Land Management Revision Process and in the meantime you can learn more about the GMUG here. (Photo of Josh King by Nick Spitzer)

East Rosebud Creek is a New Wild and Scenic River!

posted August 3, 2018
by Kevin Colburn
article photo 3

August 2, 2018, the President's signature marked the exciting finale of nearly a decade of efforts to protect Montana's East Rosebud Creek from hydropower development and other impacts. Twenty miles of this beautiful stream were designated as a Wild and Scenic River as it flows from the rugged Beartooth Mountains between Big Timber and Red Lodge, Montana. East Rosebud is treasured by local residents, paddlers, anglers, hikers, and other visitors.

2018 Colorado Whitewater Events

posted April 2, 2018
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 3

It's that time of year folks! Colorado Event Season is soon upon us. Whether you've been training all winter in preparation or whether you just enjoy a good show and boating with your friends, these classic Colorado river events are not to miss! 

In addition to the many whitewater festivals that American Whitewater partners with in Colorado, we are excited to announce that AW is hosting Gore Fest again this year! We hope to see you at Rancho Del Rio on August 24 - 26. Stay tuned for more details on race registration, entertainment, and volunteer opportunities.

TAKE ACTION: Comment on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Management Plan

posted November 1, 2017
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 2

ARKANSAS RIVER, Colo. - The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) is revising their Management Plan for the first time since 2001. The new Draft Plan was made publicly available in October and the AHRA is accepting public comments through November 10, 2017 (next week!). In order to design effective and productive comments, American Whitewater has thoroughly reviewed the Draft Plan, discussed the Plan with our local Affiliate Clubs, attended AHRA Public Open Houses, and reached out to key members of the local paddling community. To make it easy for you to SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS, American Whitewater staff have compiled our key concerns and comments for your review. 

Colorado Honors the legacy of Matt Brown

posted October 30, 2017
by Nathan Fey
article photo 2

Gunnison, Colorado - Last Wednesday, Matt Brown - longtime river guide, adventurer, and pillar of the Gunnison Valley community- passed away tragically after an accident in Moab. Matt was so much to so many.  At the request of his family and friends, contributions in Matt's memory can be made to American Whitewater’s River Access work in Colorado.  Matt was a strong ally and advisor in our work to protect the public’s rights to float and fish in the State.  We miss him immensely.

Save The Date: Wild West River Fest (WY)

posted July 3, 2017
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 2

Cody, Wyoming - This August 19 & 20 the Wild West Paddle Club is hosting the 2017 Wild West River Fest in Cody, Wyoming. In celebration of the beautiful Shoshone River, the Fest has events for everyone - Slalom Race, Class II Sprint, Shoshone Canyon Boater Cross, and many other fun activities for the whole family! Weekend festivities are free to the public, with the exception of race registration fees for competitors. You can find a full schedule here and all competitors need to register online in advance.  

A Successful River Cleanup on the St. Vrain (Lyons, CO)

posted June 7, 2017
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 2

On Sunday, nearly 50 people gathered on the banks of the St. Vrain River to pick up trash from the water and the shoreline. We started the day off with Hotbox Roasters coffee and donuts, and a few words about River Stewardship – the common cause that brought us all together. We found bedframes, rusty nails, lawn chairs, car doors, plastic water bottles, candy wrappers, fast food containers, and it doesn’t stop there. Our findings are likely a combination of leftover debris from the floods, illegal waste dumping along the river, and built up trash from years of careless passers-by. Thank you to all those that came out for the river cleanup! American Whitewater depends on our affiliate clubs, members, and dedicated volunteers in order to tackle our many River Stewardship projects.  

SAVE THE DATE! Join AW for a river cleanup on the St. Vrain, June 4 - Lyons, CO

posted May 4, 2017
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 3

Come one, come all! American Whitewater has teamed up with the CAN'd Aid Foundation and Avid4 Adventure to host a river float and cleanup along the St. Vrain during the 2017 Lyons Outdoor Games festival in Lyons, Colorado. Register online to volunteer @ us at Bohn Park at 9:30am for Hotbox Roasters coffee, donuts, and registration. After the cleanup, we'll head to Oskar Blues Grill & Brew for some brews and apps on the patio. Each volunteer will receive one FREE Oskar Blues Brewery core beer. See you there! 


Green River Boat Passage Officially Open! - UT

posted April 6, 2017
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 2

American Whitewater staff traveled to Green River, UT in late March to meet with private water users and state agencies, and to participate in the official opening of the new boat passage through the Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam). Completion of the boat passage has freed the Green River from its last in-stream obstruction between the Flaming Gorge Dam and the confluence with the Colorado River – over 400 floatable river miles through iconic canyons and historic landmarks. It has a been a long process, and our work isn’t over yet! As your boating representative, American Whitewater will continue to work closely with the dam operators and Utah’s Division of State Lands (FFSL) to ensure that the boat passage meets the needs of the public during its inaugural year.

Releases to Lower Dolores River certain in 2017.

posted February 17, 2017
by Nathan Fey
article photo 2

Cortez, Colorado - Last week, American Whitewater met with local water managers, fisheries biologists, an other interests in Dolores River water, to start negotiating releases from McPhee Dam - like we do every spring.  This year, things are looking very good for the Dolores...

Upper Colorado River Access funded by Land & Water Conservation Fund - CO

posted February 6, 2017
by Nathan Fey
article photo 2

Dotsero, Colorado - A key river access point on the Upper Colorado river, once threatened with closure, has now been permanently protected through a partnership between BLM and Eagle County. 

One more day to submit input on Colorado's Brown Canyon National Monument!

posted January 17, 2017
by Kestrel Kunz
article photo 2

There is only one more day left to share what you value most in the Browns Canyon National Monument planning area! The Bureau of Land Management, U.S Forest Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are working together to develop a Coordinated Management Plan for Browns Canyon National Monument. In order to design a plan that most benefits citizens and visitors of Colorado, the agencies designed an Online Survey and Mapping Tool to understand how the public interacts with the Browns Canyon planning area and what aspects of the area are most important to the public.


New Report on Impact to San Miguel River From Proposed Reservoirs

posted January 9, 2017
by Evan Stafford
article photo 2

Colorado - American Whitewater has released a new study on whitewater recreation in the San Miguel River Basin. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) requested that Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts for the San Miguel River. Montrose County acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in hopes of building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. American Whitewater worked with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals would have on existing recreational opportunities. 

Proposed Asphalt and Gravel Mine threatens the Upper Colorado River

posted December 6, 2016
by Evan Stafford
article photo 3

A new proposal to allow the development of a 90- acre open pit mine in Eagle County at the gateway to the Colorado River has local river users asking questions. We encourage everyone to attend an Open House December 6 at 6 PM at the Gypsum Recreation Center, and to make your voices heard at the Town Council meeting where they will discuss the application on December 13 at 7 PM.



Counting down to the 2016 Gore Canyon Festival!

posted August 2, 2016
by Nathan Fey
article photo 4

Colorado - American Whitewater is excited to host this year’s Gore Canyon Festival - building on the 30+ year legacy of the Gore Canyon downriver race, with a freestyle rodeo, SUP races and demos, and family floats this year. Register as a competitor, or volunteeer to help with logistics or safety today!

Federal Land Managers Improve Boater Access for Dolores River - CO

posted February 14, 2012
by Nathan Fey
article photo 1

A big thank-you goes out to the Dolores Public Lands Office in SW Colorado, for coordinating work on the Gypsum Valley boat launch site on the Dolores River.    The Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service's "Service First" program took the lead on this project and coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers. The project demonstrates a growing partnership between local boaters and federal land managers.

River Access Task Force Submits Recommendations to Colorado Governor

posted February 2, 2011
by Nathan Fey
article photo 1

Colorado - On December 23, Governor Bill Ritter issued a report outlining a series of proposals for resolving disputes between landowners and rafters in Colorado. He also signed an executive order creating the River Access Mediation Commission to provide a way for some of the most contentious conflicts between boaters and property owners to be addressed. The Governor’s River Access Dispute Resolution Task Force was a 17-member group created in July of 2010 to help craft ways to sort out conflicts on Colorado rivers on a stretch-by-stretch basis as those disputes arise.

October Volunteer Of The Month - Presented By Kokatat

posted September 28, 2010
by Nathan Fey
article photo 1

American Whitewater is pleased to recognize Ian Foley as our Volunteer of the Month!

Ian invested an immeasurable amount of personal time and resources in coordinating releases on the North Fork of the South Platte River in Colorado. Ian worked closely with staff at the Denver Water Board to provide an additional 300cfs for the first annual Bailey Festival.


Thanks Ian! In recognition of his efforts, Ian will be receiving a custom OuterCore Long-Sleeve Shirt from Kokatat!

Take Action-Protect Your Right to Float in Colorado!

posted February 11, 2010
by Nathan Fey
article photo 1

Whether you are a Colorado Resident, or someone who travels to Colorado to hit the peak paddling season each year, we need your help to ensure all boaters have safe access on all Colorado rivers.  AW asks that you Contact Colorado's State Legislators and Urge them to Add Private Boaters to the “River Outfitter Bill”.

Draft EIS released for Denver Water's Moffat Collection System

posted November 2, 2009
by Nathan Fey
article photo 1

To meet their projected future water needs, Denver Water proposes to develop 18,000 acre-feet per year of new water from the Upper Colorado River basin.  Denver Water's  prefered project, currently being evaluated by the Army Coprs of Engineers (ACOE), includes raising Gross Reservoir on South Boulder Creek in Boulder County to store an additional 72,000 acre-feet of water from the Fraser River and Upper Colorado basin.

AW is evaluating how severely the project will impact paddling opportunities in the Upper Colorado and Boulder Creek drainages.

For more info, attend one of three public hearings announced by the ACOE.

Comment Period Extended for Regional Watershed Supply Project (CO/WY)

posted August 27, 2009
by Nathan Fey
article photo 1

Public Notice - Regional Watershed Supply Project proposed by Million Conservation Resource Group.

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers announces the scoping comment period for the Flaming Gorge/Green River Pumpback has been extended to September 28, 2009.

AW Preserving Boating Opportunities on the Upper Colorado River

posted August 25, 2009
by Nathan Fey
article photo 1

By the end of September, the Upper Colorado River Stakeholders Group will submit a local resource management plan alternative for the US BLM's Kremmling and Glenwood Springs Field Offices.  American Whitewater has worked for over two years to represent paddlers in the negotiations, ensuring the plan explicitly protects flows that support a range of outstanding boating opportunities in Gore Canyon, Pumphouse, and Glenwood Canyon. The alternative plan crafted by the group seeks to balance permanent protection for recreational values in the Colorado River; water project yield; flexibility for water managers; and certainty for stakeholders.

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Upcoming Events

Gore Canyon Festival Sunday the 26th 3:00 PM to 750 - 2500 cfs
Saturday the 25th 3:00 PM to 750 - 2500 cfs
Friday the 24th 3:00 PM to 750 - 2500 cfs

Associated News

Regional Watershed Supply Project - Update
May 15, 2009

Releases Scheduled for the North Fork South Platte (CO)
July 30, 2010

Public Hearing added for Denver Water's Moffat Collection Project
November 24, 2009

Comments needed on Virgin River Wild & Scenic Management Plan
October 10, 2010

Colorado Legislature Tackles River Access Bill
February 10, 2010

Take Action-Protect Your Right to Float in Colorado!
February 11, 2010

Hearing canceled for Moffat Collection Project
December 8, 2009

Comment Period Extended for Regional Watershed Supply Project (CO/WY)
August 27, 2009

Upper Colorado River - Project Update
August 27, 2009

AW Preserving Boating Opportunities on the Upper Colorado River
August 25, 2009

Gore Race 2009 - Get on It!
August 12, 2009

3rd Annual South Platte Clean-up - Colorado
April 23, 2009

Join AW at PaddleFest '09
May 1, 2009

Dolores River Releases for 2009
March 16, 2009

AW helps develop Upper Colorado River Management Plan
August 20, 2008

Protection for Idaho Roadless Areas Weakened
October 17, 2008

Support Flow Restoration on the Dolores River - Take Action!
September 30, 2010

Army Corps extends comment period for NISP
July 31, 2008

Randy Thompson: AW Volunteer of the Month
May 1, 2008

Toxic Mine Drainage Threatens Arkansas River
February 19, 2008

Help pass Colorado's "Right to Float" legislation
March 17, 2010

River Access Dispute Resolution Task Force created in Colorado
July 28, 2010

Dolores River Flow Study (CO)
July 28, 2010

Pack It Out! Day on Upper Colorado River
August 3, 2010

2010 Gore Canyon Race
August 17, 2010

October Volunteer Of The Month - Presented By Kokatat
September 28, 2010

Help Protect the Yampa River - Colorado
September 30, 2010

AW Testifies in Colorado Senate on Right to Float
March 16, 2010

Last Call for Dolores River Flow Study Participation (CO)
August 31, 2010

Recreational Water Rights Sought for the Upper Colorado River
January 31, 2011

River Access Task Force Submits Recommendations to Colorado Governor
February 2, 2011

AW Releases Colorado River Access Video
September 21, 2010

AW launches Flow Study for Yampa River
March 3, 2011

Management Plan submitted for Upper Colorado River (CO)
March 8, 2011

Help Evaluate Flows in the Virgin River and Zion National Park - UT
April 1, 2011

LAST CALL - Yampa River Flow Survey
April 1, 2011

AW Announces New Dolores River Program Staff!
April 8, 2011

Colorado Funds Support for Flaming Gorge Pipeline Study
September 14, 2011

BLM Releases Draft RMP/EIS for Upper Colorado River- CO
October 11, 2011

AW Needs Your Input On Western River Flows!
October 25, 2011

AW Intervenes in Opposition to the Flaming Gorge Pumpback Proposal
December 16, 2011

Upper Colorado River Receives Legal Flow Protection
December 6, 2011

Shape the Future of Flows in the Colorado River - Comments due January 17th!
January 5, 2012

Colorado River Flows – Round II! Kremmling Comments due January 17th.
January 13, 2012

ACTION ALERT: Grand Canyon: Glen Canyon Dam Comments Due Jan 31!
January 27, 2012

Green River Approved for Use In Nuclear Power Plant (UT)
January 27, 2012

Action Alert - Support Fall Boating on the Upper Colorado River!
February 28, 2012

Tell the Obama Administration to take Desolation Canyon out of its Crosshairs!
April 4, 2012

FERC Denies Flaming Gorge Pumpback Request for Re-Hearing!
May 17, 2012

Lower Dolores River Draft Implementation Plan Released - Colorado
October 4, 2012

American Whitewater Receives Partner In Conservation Award - Washington D.C.
October 18, 2012

AW Opposes Bureau of Reclamation Proposal to Raise Shasta Dam (CA)
January 25, 2013

Bill to Roll Back Merced Wild and Scenic Boundary Reintroduced (CA)
March 15, 2013

Action Alert–Support River Access in Nevada!
March 25, 2013

Action Alert: Submit Comments on the Colorado River Supply and Demand Study
March 5, 2013

2013 Gunnison Flow Survey is live. Share your thoughts & protect rivers!
April 30, 2013

Flow Updates: Taylor, Black Canyon, Gunnison Gorge
June 19, 2013

Action Alert: Take the Gunnison River Flow Survey, win KEEN shoes
June 21, 2013

Volunteer of the Month - Presented by Kokatat
August 6, 2013

NEEDED: Paddler Feedback on Uncompahgre, Cimarron, North Fork Gunnison (CO)
August 15, 2013

Virgin River Comprehensive Management Plan Approved
February 27, 2014

Help Secure Boat Passage on the Green River, Utah!
March 19, 2014

AW launches Important Flow Studies on Arizona streams.
April 7, 2014

AW Needs your input on Flows in Ruby-Horsethief, Westwater, and Cataract Canyons
April 8, 2014

Flow Study on the San Rafael (UT)
May 31, 2014

AW Intervenes in Colorado River Water Rights Case
June 13, 2014

Plans for Green River Diversion Project Released (UT)
June 29, 2014

Landmark Agreement reached on Colorado River
August 1, 2014

Senators Urge President to Designate Browns Canyon National Monument
November 25, 2014

Breaking Ground on the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park - CO
November 22, 2014

Low River Flows are a top concern of Western Voters
February 11, 2015

President Obama Designates Browns Canyon National Monument - Colorado
February 18, 2015

Warm Springs Film Premiere Set to Drop in Moab
October 27, 2014

10th Annual South Platte Clean-up - This Saturday!
April 21, 2015

Final Decision released for Green River Diversion Project
May 2, 2015

Colorado Mine Accident closes Animas River
August 6, 2015

Dolores River Flows awarded permanant Protection!
September 17, 2015

Town of Eagle, Colorado launches ambitious River Corridor Plan
March 2, 2016

Rehabilitation Project of Green River Dam Nears Completion
May 2, 2016

Tell the NRCS Thank You for the successful Green River Diversion Project.
May 3, 2016

Blue River Watershed Group: Recipient of 2016 Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Grant!
August 15, 2016

Safe Boating Passage Through Tusher Dam (UT) Is Threatened By New Conflict
December 15, 2016

One more day to submit input on Colorado's Brown Canyon National Monument!
January 17, 2017

AW to rehabiliate low-head dam on Dolores River - Colorado
February 6, 2017

New Report on Impact to San Miguel River From Proposed Reservoirs
January 9, 2017

Update on New Whitewater Park in Eagle, CO
February 17, 2017

Releases to Lower Dolores River certain in 2017.
February 17, 2017

Colorado's Whitewater Events Schedule Released!
March 24, 2017

Green River Boat Passage Officially Open! - UT
April 6, 2017

SAVE THE DATE! Join AW for a river cleanup on the St. Vrain, June 4 - Lyons, CO
May 4, 2017

A Successful River Cleanup on the St. Vrain (Lyons, CO)
June 7, 2017

TAKE ACTION: Upper Roaring Fork River Management Plan (CO)
October 31, 2017

TAKE ACTION: Comment on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Management Plan
November 1, 2017

Utah to develop Management and Mineral Leasing plans for Green & Colorado Rivers
March 30, 2018

Dolores River 2018 Outlook - March Update
March 20, 2018

Court to decide on Public Access to Water Flowing through Private Property
March 20, 2018

2018 Colorado Whitewater Events
April 2, 2018

In NM, Mother’s Day Weekend Means Whitewater Races!
April 4, 2018

Court Approves Permanent Flow Protection for Dolores River
April 10, 2018

Bill Introduced to designate new Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers (UT)
May 9, 2018

Land Exchange on Colorado's Blue River open to Public Comment
May 18, 2018

Speak Up NOW to Protect New Mexico’s Gila and San Francisco Rivers!
August 13, 2018

Saint Vrain Stream Management Planning is Underway (CO)
September 5, 2018

Related Groups

Volunteer Opportunities / Activities

projects - West Rosebud (MT)

projects - Boundary Creek (ID)

projects - Windy Gap Firming Project (CO)

Associated Projects