River Access Partnerships

Helpful Tools: the National Park Service has developed a great collection of how-to river access publications that we highly recommend. You can browse through them by clicking here. One of their publications that is especially helpful is Logical Lasting Launches.

Gauley River, WV

On the last day of the 104th Congress in 1996, legislation was passed (Public Law 104-333) requiring the National Park Service to purchase and develop an access at Woods Ferry for non-commercial river runners. Congressman Nick Rahall sponsored this legislation and inserted a provision that prohibited the Park Service from “acquiring or developing any other river access points within the recreation area” until completion of the Woods Ferry access. While welcoming this commitment to public access, AW raised concerns that this requirement to focus exclusively on Woods Ferry would hinder opportunities that might emerge at other sites along the river. After years of patience however the National Park Service purchased both the Woods Ferry and Mason Branch access points from two West Virginia landowners in spring of 2008. For additional information on public access and our work on the Gauley River check out the Gauley River Project page.

Cheat and Big Sandy Rivers, WV

From 2003-2004, the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program assisted the Cheat Canyon Coalition organizational and strategic planning efforts to identify land use and management needs, create public awareness activities, and work to acquire key public access to the river. A land swap creating 14 acres of river-front public access for paddlers was achieved after over a year of negotiations. Allegheny Wood Products (AWP) exchanged lands with owners of Mountain Streams & Trails (MS&T) outfitters, which provided MS&T legal ownership to the take-out in the 10-mile Class V Cheat Canyon, from Albright to the Jenkinsburg Bridge and at the same site, a take-out for paddlers on the Big Sandy. Friends of the Cheat led a fundraising effort to clean up the site and also secured a matching grant from EPA to address water quality issues associated with the erosion and resource degradation issues at the site. This is an example of a successful partnership project between MS&T, a local outfitter and business owner, and public river users represented by Friends of the Cheat and American Whitewater. The support of federal and state agencies proved to be the catalyst for the successful execution of this project. Cheat and Big Sandy Report

Middle Fork Snoqualmie, WA

A partnership project between American Whitewater and the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program to document current river access issues, needs, and recommendations for improvements to ensure the public has dedicated access to the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River in Washington for whitewater boating (canoes, kayaks, and rafts). Read the complete Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River Access Final Concept Plan.

Upper Yough, MD

Access to this state Scenic River was controversial and uncertain until a land trust purchased a lot to serve as a launch point. The land was donated to the state, and shortly thereafter the non-profit organization American Whitewater signed a cooperative agreement with the state to manage the launch point. American Whitewater accepts donations for upkeep costs, and organizes local volunteers to mow grass, spread gravel, and maintain the simple facilities. This cooperative agreement eliminates the need for management through the state government, engages volunteers in stewardship, encourages economic benefits, and promotes healthy outdoor recreation. This positive project is made possible because a protected high-quality outdoor recreation resource inspires passionate local stewardship.

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