Monday, August 31, 2009

 

Whitewater - Center Restructuring

The US National Whitewater Center is in over their heads and trying to tread water. Located on the Catawba River, the country's economic woes have hit this North Carolina center for outdoor recreation quite hard. With a debt load of over 12 million dollars, restructuring has started with 41 different lending agencies.

Jeff Wise, executive director has noted that some programs are up, while others are down. Families still come to the center on the Catawba River for rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking and biking, but the local economy has hit many of the families.

Corporate groups rafting have nearly disappeared as those companies are bearing the shame of past wasteful spending. Most of the corporate groups are not supporting company-based recreational programs any longer for their employees.

For more information contact: Michael Barrett at 704.869.1826
Thank you TOPIX and Gaston Gazette for this post!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

 

Travel Therapy

From the San Jose Mercury News and The Associated Press comes a timely news story on stress related illnesses. Writer Karen Schaler has just written a Berkeley-based $20 paperback book from Seal Press. The chapters are broken down into 11 different situations of stress and travel remedies.

For the love lost folks, you are best suited for an extreme adventure such as shark diving, hang gliding or whitewater rafting. Physically demanding adventures will help you to relax through your anxiety or stressful times.

Those in need of a personal reinvention of the mind and soul might want to consider an exotic adventure in an exotic location. For those who are workaholics, Ms. Schaler recommends reconnecting with your family and loved ones on a family-friendly outing or vacation.

Those of us with whitewater rafting companies knew about this "healing" method a long time ago!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

 

Extreme Travel, Pop Culture Travel Guide

Jaunted contributing editor, kjb has researched the winter rafting phenomenon started by W.E.T. River Trips during the heyday of the early 80's. Whitewater rafting guides started off from the snowy mountains of Donner Ski Resort and the rafting company actually hiked a raft, a kayak and a mountain bike up the hill to "raft", "kayak" and "ride" the snow downhill.

Now, several rafting and whitewater enthusiasts have taken to the snowy slopes and do just that as a precursor of what's to come for the whitewater rafting season in their own regions. In California, the paddling enthusiasts are already out on the rivers and mountains riding the snow and the water in the rivers.

kjb, Jaunted Contributing editor just posted a story about winter rafting and featured WET River Trips and Blue Heron Whitewater. These two companies have a reputation of early season boating on rivers in their regions. WET, rafting in California, navigates the South Fork American, Middle Fork American and North Fork American whitewater trips. Blue Heron Whitewater offers a similar chilly start in North Carolina on the French Broad River.

River rafting in the winter is highlighted with less crowds, beautiful scenery and a chance to see the river before the summer crowds. Most outfitters that operate in the winter and spring provide wetsuit packages to keep you safe from hypothermia. Look up these two outfitters during your spring break for a chance to ride the rapids!

Thank you to kbj, Jaunted, The Pop Culture Travel Guide & your great post for winter rafting!

For more information on California whitewater rafting or North Carolina rafting see RAFTINFO.com for more American whitewater.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

 

Rafting Movies : Land of the Lost : June 5, 2009 release

This past 2009 Super Bowl had a commercial with a satirical take on an 1970 Saturday morning children's show called Land of the Lost. The old movie has a paleontologist who goes rafting into a lost world. And now soon to be released on June 5, 2009, Universal Pictures will be releasing a Will Ferrell comedy called "Land of the Lost."

Several scenes take place on an expedition with white water rafting shots. Even California's Hollywood knows how mainstream whitewater rafting has become for the general public. An irreverent take on rafting through rapids will bring even more of the public to the rivers this summer.

Thanks to CBS Entertainment and Universal Studios for this informative post.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

 

Whitewater Center, Charlotte, NC

U.S. National Whitewater Center has announced today the opening of the Whitewater Center Parkway in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Guests can reach the facility from Belmeade Drive. Call the center at (704) 391-3900 for more information. US National Whitewater Center is an outdoor and environmental education center.

The new parkway features whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking on the new multi-channel river. Mountain biking, trail running and climbing are also featured at the center. Conference and meeting complex with restaurant and catering faciliites makes this a perfect site for the official U.S. Olympic training.

Thank you Charlotte Business Journal for this Rafting story!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

 

Cagayan de Oro Whitewater - Philippines

Rafting outfitters are struggling with a political storm on the Cagayan de Oro's whitewater river. Opposition to the proposal for a bioethanol plant in two upland villages poses an environmental threat to the river itself. Opening the Barangays Mambuaya and Bayanga to industrial corporations jeopardizes the health of the river. The Mambuya hosts the city's 12-kilometer white water rafting course.

Oro Association of Rafters is composed of all six local whitewater rafting companies. The association will oppose the plan by Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. to construct this bioethanol processing plant. Jerome Garcia, operator of Dome Expeditions Tours has said that the association has already stated their position in public.

The association believes that because neither an environmental impact assessment was done or public hearings before the passage of the new ordinance, that the project should be re-assesed. Garcia encourages that the bioethanol plant be relocated outside of the city to curtail threats of pollution to the river.

Thank you to Sunstar for this update and post from the Philippines.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

 

River Day - Concord River, Lowell, MA, USA

Our friends over at Topix just posted about the River Day held in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. Lowell Sun has the full story on their website. The Concord River is just off of Lawrence Street near Senator Paul Tsongas burial site. His wife, US Rep. Niki Tsongas pointed out, "Paul's right up there. This river is a geographic uniter, but it's a personal place as well."

Story after story were told during the presentation for River Day event hosted by Tsongas purely to celebrate the rivers that connect the Fifth Congressional District.

Plans for a Concord River Greenway was presented by Steve Conant, co-founder and president of the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust. He envisions a 25-mile path from Framingham to Lowell. The environmental, historical project leaders and builders expect the construction to be completed by 2009.

Educators from all over the country as well as India and China have come to this historical site to learn about Lowell's history and rivers.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

 

California American River Whitewater Trips

California's whitewater rafting season has begun. The Sacramento Bee in Northern California recently partnered with the well-known whitewater rafting company, W.E.T. River Trips in a historical event on the three forks of the American River. They called it the Rafting Triple Crown or Rapid Fire.

Rare is the day when all three whitewater sections of the American River are runnable. Due to spring runoff and dam schedules, North Fork American, South Fork American and Middle Fork American are rarely flowing at the same time. This past week, The Sacramento Bee, Good Blood Productions and W.E.T. River Trips accomplished a record setting time on running all three whitewater sections in less than 12 hours in one day.

Ryan MacPherson, who works for W.E.T. River Trips as a safety kayaker on the class 4+ North Fork American owns his own video production company, Good Blood Productions. Ryan recently finished working with the documentary, "The Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel. W.E.T. River Trips has given Sacbee.com permission to post the video for their readers.

Congratulations to this California rafting company and the great publicity for all the whitewater companies in the west.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

 

Rafting News from Second Life - USA

Whitewater and paddling in the USA is pleased to announce world wide partnerships with the rafting and extreme sports networks. W.E.T. River Trips is the first rafting, whitewater or paddling entity in Second Life. Over one year in development, W.E.T. River Trips is networking in the virtual world with giants in the extreme sports industry such as the Costa Rica sims, the Weather Channel's surfing sims, SL Triathelon, Base Jumpers, Diving and Second Life script and terrain developers.


Builder, Tu Dae - Wizard Water & Rock Video

Throughout the virtual world, W.E.T. River Trips has encouraged other sim owners to create rivers, streams, whitewater, waterfalls and other water elements in Second Life.

Recently, the Dutch have announced the creation of a new sim soley based on paddling sports. The marketing relationships with the Dutch were developed in-world through electronic music and owners of other sims.

W.E.T. River Trips is now a concierge level landowner in Second Life. Their female avatar is represented by their domain name RAFTWET. The avatar is a single, business woman created to network with other sim owners and businesses. She has created three major groups for avatars including a builders's group for land development and the paddling sports of rafting and whitewater.

"Our focus is to network and educate. The more the public knows about rivers, the more protection a river will have from the encroachment of civilization and pollution. Countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Brasil, Australia, Germany, Turkey, Korea, Japan are already here marketing their outdoor tourism programs. We were concerned that the USA had not discovered this marketing opportunity. We came here to make sure that the USA was well-represented for outdoor tourism and whitewater rafting. And now... we are network partners with the world," exclaims RAFTWET Jewell, the company avatar in Second Life.

As the rafting company celebrates their first year in Second Life, they have taken on a philosophy of sharing and educating the world-wide public to the whitewater rafting and extreme sports networks. "If you build it, they will come" is the mantra of the virtual world builders, and W.E.T. River Trips has taken this to another level in marketing whitewater paddling sports.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

 

Siang River, India

India's love of rivers was highlighted recently on a "trip of a lifetime" to the remote Siang River. Shauna Rempel from the Toronto Star writes a great article about North American men and women who did an inaugural expedition of River India.

Her blow by blow article captures the heart of river rafting on this expedition-style adventure sport. The Siang River is known as Tsnag-Po in Tibet and flows into the Lohit and the Dibang in Assam to form the Brahmaputra (Son of Brahma in Sanskrit) River.

Scott Lindgren led a group of kayakers back in 2002 on an exploratory trip there. Only 10 documented whitewater trips have been known. This trip is the definition of wilderness whitewater paddling.

River India was started by Roland Stevenson who focuses on this type of rafting. He comments, "You could go to Rishikesh and do a trip like that. (50 tour operators with bus trips for rafting) But I didn't start River India to offer that kind of experience." A son of a diplomat with a PhD in physics and 10+ years of paddling experience, Stevenson adds, "I'm offering trips of a lifetime."

Thank you to the The Toronto Star and Shauna Rempel

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

 

Silver Creek - California

Visit the AmericanWhitewater.org water steward organization for river rafting acess for the public. Many runs have been opened by this politically active organization. Most recent was the Silver Creek run on the South Fork American river. Only 10 elusive days were available to run this small section of the main south fork in the last 2 years.

Kayakers, paddlers and media swarmed onto the river at the last days of October 2007. Reviews, kudos and accolades were given on this most precious whitewater resource. Contact AmericanWhitewater.org for more information on how you can influence the water managers of this run to allow for more water releases on scheduled dates.


For more information on California whitewater rafting, please visit the C-W-R.com website.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

 

William Nealy - Whitewater Cartoonist

The whitewater industry lost a giant in the world of cartooning, writing and art when they lost William Nealy. His artwork today is still being enjoyed not only by whitewater paddlers but by the general public at large. Much of his artwork has never been seen before or published. The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has made an agreeement with Mr. Nealy's estate, and the NOC will be housing his unseen works and rotating them for view on a regular basis at the Paddler's Club.

William Nealy's artwork was the quintenssential interpretation of whitewater paddling. His drawings will be enjoyed now even more now that it has it's own place in the most appropriate setting. A grand opening is set for August 31, 2007 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm and will benefit the American Whitewater non-profit organization.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

 

Rafting Forum

Topix is a news service specializing in feeds from every blog, news source registered in the universe. The rafting news portion has a forum where rafters, paddlers and kayakers can vent or comment on their news' items. Each teaser has a recap on the feed with a direct link to the publisher or media source. Though all encompassing, many of the items are sensational or promotional releases.

W.E.T. River Trips' Rafting News will focus on news that promotes the rafting whitewater industry and other paddling and surfing news. PR pieces will not be given the same role here as a real news item. We will leave it to Topix to gather it all as one source. Check it out and make your comments count.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

 

Lim River - Montenegro

28 rafts competed in a recent competition on the Lim River in Montenegro. A six-man team from Bulgaria secured a silver and bronze medal in 3 categories: slalom two manshes, sprint with eliminations and 5 km drops. This was an impressive showing for this team as it was only the 2nd time that they participated in this competition.

The biggest competition came from the Serbs, Crotians and Slovakians. Those more seasoned teams placed first and second in the rankings. Next step comes the preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games in Peking, China.

Thanks to Blaga Bangieva for this informative post!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

 

Gauley - West Virginia

The state's Division of Natural Resources Whitewater Commission has been asked by the West Virginia Professional River Outfitters to levy a mandatory 35-cent fee for each rafter that floats through 4 sections of the Gauley River.

This fee would help the WVPRO in stocking trout for the river. Since 1990, the association has taken it upon themselves to stock the river with trout using the association's membership fees. This has helped extend the recreational opportunities for the public and the resource.

Each licensed rafting company will collect the monies as a mandatory use fee and submit those funds as part of a monthly report of use. This same concept is used in California on the American River's whitewater sections of the South Fork and Middle Fork of the American.

The Gauley and other rivers already have a use-fee levied for rafting, but this fee covers the agencies that fund studies for economic impacts and developing tourism, carrying capacities, safety issues and overseeing the quality of the rafting trip itself.

The new fees will be earmarked solely for the stocking of trout. This program will help to create a economic base for fishing and extending the Gauley's recreational resources.

Thanks to the Daily Mail for this item.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

 

4th of July - USA

The Fourth of July is here with hot weather, hot dogs and red, white & blue confetti. The real beginning of summer. Throughout the country many people will jump aboard a raft and float down a river. Some will venture out on their own, floating in plastic rafts or inner tubes. While other paddlers hire professional whitewater outfitters to paddle down advanced river runs near their communities.

Whatever river you are paddling today on this 4th, Rafting News asks everyone to have a proper lifejacket on at all times. Many locales have community programs for families where you can rent lifejackets for all members in your group. Drinking is fine when you get back home to the barbecue, but don't do it on the river. And a word about trash. Pick it up and throw it away into a trash receptacle. Keep the rivers as clean as the day they were formed. Come home tonight safe and sound to your friends and family and keep this July 4th as a cherished memory.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

 

Faux River - Maryland

It was inevitable... there are man-made surf waves at theme parks and climbing walls in almost every city. There are man-made kayak surf holes on rivers that run through urban centers. There are whitewater rafting parks, man-made and human designed in many, many locations throughout the world. So it was inevitable that the first man-made river now cascades down from a mountain in Garrett County, Maryland. Marsh Mountain hosts the Adventure Sports Center International with a 1,700-foot whitewater river.

For $50 per person, they plan to take as many people on this faux-whitewater river as an introduction to the sport. From Class I to Class IV, a new paddler will be able to experience what the rest of us have been experiencing all along, except this is a controlled environment with no surprises.

Experienced, professional guides still lead the charge as they help the novices learn whitewater paddling techniques. This new venture will only help to bring new rafters and paddlers to the sport of whitewater river rafting on real rivers!

Thanks to Washington Post for the news announcement!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

 

AB 951 - American River, California

The California legislator's have finally addressed the deviant behavior on the urban lower American River in Sacramento. Assemblyman Dave Jones, a Democrat representing Sacramento wrote the AB 951 after many of his constituents had raised questions about the alcohol-inspired riots from past holiday weekends on that river.

The county placed a ban on alcohol, but found that they could not regulate the actual behavior in the rafts. The local jurisdiction pleaded with the assembly to find a way to regulate drinking on the river. The cost to the county has been noted as increased sheriff patrols on the river have tried to prevent near riots during the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. And then after the trip, the rowdy paddlers get in their cars and drive drunk putting the entire community at-risk. All these holiday weekends attract participants who have traveled sometimes from out-of-state to join the revelry on the do-it-yourself float stretch of the class II Lower American River.

What used to be a fun-filled weekend for families has turned into classic film grist for a "Girl's Gone Wild" episode. This is the urban jewel of Sacramento's waterways. The Lower American has been an artist's river as many well-known painters have featured river scenes in their artworks. It has been a local shame that the river has lost it's soul to a bunch of rowdy testosterone-laden young hooligans ready to drink and fight their way towards manhood.

The Sacramento community welcomes Congressman Dave Jones bill. Now let's hope the Govenor's listening to those who want to enjoy a day on the river without wading through beer bottles, trash, boom boxes and flying fists on what used to be a family rafting trip.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

 

Tuolumne River - California

Well-known river, the Tuolumne, lies just outside of the Yosemite area in California. A popular rafting destination for many northern Californian paddlers, the river has been on several lists of top ten whitewater rafting rivers in the west.

After two years of extreme high water, the Tuolumne will have great regulated flows though out the 2007 rafting season. Outfitters on the main section of the Tuolumne and the famous Class V section called the Cherry Creek run, should have a near normal season due to dam controlled water releases.

The Cherry Creek run is one of the most difficult Class V rafting trips, and original whitewater pioneer, Marty McDonnell's Sierra Mac River Trips was the first outfitter to offer commercial rafting on this stretch of river back in 1972. "I have a passion for that stretch of river," said Marty McDonnell, "It requires a team of guides who really know the river and we have a group of about six who work together here all summer whose main focus is the Tuolumne. Folks who want to do the river know we do about 90 percent of the trips, and they trust us."

The Tuolumne River was designated to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System on September 28, 1984. The O'Shaugnessy Dam in the Hetch Hetchy Valley of Yosemite National Park controls the water releases for the main Tuolumne river.

Thanks to Union Democrat for the quotes!

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

 

RiverLink - French Broad River

Non-profit RiverLink is the organization helping the French Broad River to maintain its environmental water quality and its economic viability. Founded in 1987, they have helped to increase conservation and public awareness of the river by developing access and recreation. RiverLink was also vital to the economic revitilization of Aheville's riverfront district.

On June 14th, RiverLink hosts the Asheville Associates at Windows at the Park. A festival of music, food, beer and wine tasting, and rafting will raise monies that go directly to RiverLink. Huck Finn Rafting and Southern Waterways will provide the rafting trips throughout the day.

Thanks to the Citizens-Time from Asheville for this news item!


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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

 

Fly Fishing meets Whitewater

Fly fishing never seemed so exciting, as the usual tranquil sport contrasted with the wild waters of the Eagle River in Colorado. Eight finalists were met with whitewater rapids along with trout fishing in a contest held this past week during the Teva Mountain Games. Higher flows from spring melt met the competitors with exciting white water.

First prize winner, Mark Sassi of Edwards won a $1,000 prize and a new Sage fly rod for landing 5 fish in 4 hours. Cody Powell came in second with 4 fish with Jeff Wagner landing 3 fish for the third place finish. Wagner also won a $500 bonus for the largest fish caught.

Thanks to the Denver Post for this news!

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Friday, June 01, 2007

 

White Water Media Day - California

Whitewater rafting enthusiasts will appreciate the efforts from the American River community in the Lotus Coloma Valley in Northern California. Tomorrow, June 2nd is the Annual Whitewater Media Day on the South Fork of the American River. El Dorado County, California Outdoors, the American River outfitters, local businesses and the media will all be paddling on the Gorge section of this river.

The Gorge is an 11-mile stretch of Class 3 to 3+ whitewater river. The section starts in the heart of the Gold Rush town of Coloma, where John Sutter found the first gold. An historic park lies in Coloma preserving Sutter's mill right on the shores of the river. The Gorge flows through several rapids and its moniker emphasizes the steep canyon-like walls near the best class 3+ rapids of the day. The river ends in Folsom Lake, a large reservoir just above Sacramento; California's state capitol.

Each rafting company donates guides, rafts and equipment, vehicles, barbecue, and, even land in order to host this special media event. Publishers of print, television, radio and internet media send their representatives to paddle and river raft the South Fork American, the most popular river in the Western United States.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

 

Yagatta Regatta - Colorado

Whitewater Rafting is sponsoring the 5th annual Yagatta Regatta benefiting Operation Vacation, a program to help military personnel with all expense paid trips to the community. An array of events are planned starting on June 2nd.

A raft flotilla costume competition, live music, beer tasting, food vendors and children's activities round out the kayak competition this year.

For all rafters, meet at 2000 Devereux Road, by 10:30 a.m. Rafts will float from Grizzly Creek to Two Rivers Park, where festival entrance is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger.

Thanks to April Clark at the Post Independent for this info!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

 

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is coming tomorrow. Travelers will be out throughout the country visiting state parks, recreating outdoors and gravitating to our waterways. Due to high gas prices, many vacationers will be traveling closer to home and visiting rivers and lakes nearby. Picnicing and camping are the usual pasttimes while river rafting will augment many visitor's plans.

Rafting News suggests that all paddlers wear a lifejacket and proper gear no matter what river or lake you are floating. Watch and supervise your chldren at all times when near a body of water. Even your teens need to be supervised near any water or river.

Keep alcohol to a minimum or not at all if you are paddling or swimming. Alcohol will impair your judgement and also fool you into thinking the water isn't cold enough for hyperthermia. Use common sense when in the outdoors. Keep hydrated during hikes and rafting, especially in the warmer areas of the country. And remember that spring runoff is cold and fast and should be prepared for appropriately before attempting any rafting trip.

If you love the outdoors, then respect it. That respect will go a long way in preventing vacation time tragedies and will help you to preserve the time-honored memories of Memorial Day Weekend!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

 

American River - Coloma, California

The Lotus Coloma Valley, center of the universe for California's rafting community, will be hosting several special events throughout the 2007 season. Music, art, environmental fund raisers, American River conservancy events will highlight the year.

This charming, rural foothill community just outside of Sacramento, California's State Capitol is also home to the original gold rush. The historical Coloma State Park is preserved there along with a museum and gold panning demonstrations. The community lies on the shores of the South Fork American river, the most popular whitewater river in the western United States. For more information on recreation and paddling, visit coloma.com for an expanded read on valley events.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

 

Arakawa River - Japan

The beautiful urban Arakawa River in Japan that flows through Tokyo is seeing an increase of rafting tourism. The upper reaches of the river is dotted with rocks and trees and the outdoor paddlers even acknowledge the steam train riders as it crosses the Chichibu Railway bridge.

Gondolas carry recreation tourists over the river as river rafters enjoy the river in rafts and kayaks. As is the case everywhere, the rafters are required to wear helmets, lifejackets and use proper gear.

Thanks to Mainichi Daily News for this info from Nagatoro, Saitama, Japan


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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

 

Chattooga River - South Carolina

Miami Beach Parks and Recreation hosted the North Shore Park Teen Club on a whitewater rafting trip on the Chattooga River. The teens rafted the river in conjunction with three other excursions that included the Salvador Dali Art Museum, Disneyland and the MGM studios. Incorporating these events gave these teens an opportunity to be exposed to activities and an outdoor adventure not normally available in their lives.

More and more youth groups and recreational groups are recognizing the value in these types of environmental programs. With rafting, the teens are exposed to a program that highlights cooperation within a group. A positive influence will work to combat negative forces in a teen's life. And in this tumultuous society, a teen needs more of these activities to brighten their hopes and dreams.

Thanks to the CityDebate in Miami Beach for the info on North Shore Park Teen Club!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

 

Cal Salmon River Fest - California

California Salmon River hosts a River Fest from May 5 through the 7th. The Raft and Kayak competition commences on May 6th. The Cal Salmon is a Class 5 white water run that flows on a beautiful pristine river near the California/Oregon border. World class kayakers are expected to attend this party on the river.

For whitewater rafters who want to go rafting during that time, contact a Cal Salmon outfitter and reserve your river trip now. A listing of Cal Salmon rafting companies is located on the California whitewater rafting C-W-R.com website.

For more information go to Caliproduct for the announcements and times or visit their main website at http://www.caliproduct.com.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

 

Waller Creek - Austin, TX

Waller Creek is about to get a make-over. An urban creek that flows adjacent to Austin's convention center, is an environmental eyesore of debris and trash flowing through the downtown area. Champion of creeks and rivers, Jim Stuart, a former member of the kayaking and rafting industry, is spearheading the movement to create a whitewater paddling park. His credits include outfitting actor Ned Beatty with rafting gear for the movie "Deliverance." Stuart also helped organize the World White Water Championships in the early 80's on the Savage River in western Maryland.

City Councilwoman, Sheryl Cole, pushing for the tunnel project that would upgrade pumps to move the water in a consistent and regulated flow, has recently created the Waller Creek Citizens Advisory Committee. So far, none of the other ideas from the citizens have considered a recreational white water park (trail) for Austin, but there are many precedents to the idea as seen around the country such as Denver's Confluence Park in their lower downtown along with Truckee Whitewater Park in Reno, Nevada.

Thanks to the Austin Chronicle for this information!

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Friday, April 20, 2007

 

Ocoee River - Tennessee

Ocoee River, the 1996 Olympic whitewater paddle host, was compromised by a diesel fuel spill a couple of days ago. A tanker truck had an accident near white water rafting businesses close to the North Carolina and Georgia borders. Luckily, no one was injured in the accident though a measureable amount of fuel was spilled into the river.

Spokesperson, Tisha Calabrese-Benton, from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said, "... some of the diesel fuel has gotten into the river but in a manageable amount."

The TDEC and other local environmental management agencies are attempting to clean the mess and drain the tanker from spilling more fuel into the river.

The white water rafting companies have not started their weekday recreation schedules yet and don't anticipate problems when their weekday trips start in June.

Thanks to Business Week for this information!

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

 

Abigail Hoffman

Well known Maine outdoors woman, Abigail Hoffman died recently in a tragic ski accident while participating in fundraiser at Sugarloaf. A rafting guide, legislator, mother and outdoors lover, her death leaves a huge hole in Maine's outdoor industry.

Her influence in helping environmental and conservation concerns leaves many mourning. Popular outdoor blogger, Carey Kish has a tribute on his blog to her with a call for donations to the Kennebec Valley Land Trust, PO Box 261, Winthrop, ME 04364. Instead of flowers, please consider contributing in her name. California environmentalists send a heartfelt note of symphony to her friends and family.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

 

SMUD Relicensing a Gift for Rafters

SMUD's (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) recent relicensing is proving to be a gift to whitewater rafters in California. California rafting will be available throughout the season with controlled flows coming from dam operators on the South Fork American and Middle Fork American Rivers.

The agreement is allowing SMUD to manage the water by providing runnable flows on both rivers. On the South Fork American, the operators have designated "dry" Wednesdays in the month of May and June with flows everyday. And in July and August, everyday will be available with only a "dry" Monday.

On the Middle Fork American, the water managers will provide 7-days a week of runnable flows.

Based on this year's dismal snowpack, the agreement and management of the river resource will prove to be a gift for the whitewater rafting public assuring them of boatable flows this rafting season.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

 

Rafting as a Recruiting Incentive

Accounting giant, Ernst and Young has taken the next step in recruiting their young new employees for accounting careers. River rafting wasn't quite exciting enough, so the accounting firm took their recruits on a rafting adventure down the slippery snow-covered slopes of Utah this past March. 300 students from Brigham Young were wooed with the latest recruitment incentives.

Large corporate giants are developing unusual recruitment techniques to attract young guns into their businesses with wine tasting vacations, whitewater rafting trips, adventure travel, baseball games and more. As competition heats up for the best, employers are developing more creative ways to draw in new employees and keeping them.

All these programs will help to create happier and better motivated employees for their companies. And, what better way to help our whitewater rafting industry to create even more potential rafting clients for rafting companies!

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Friday, March 30, 2007

 

South Fork American - California

Flows will be impacted this year due to a less than normal precipitation this past winter. Due to SMUD's generous and cooperative management of the resources at the reservoirs, agreements were reached to provide normal flows through the duration of the season from now until September. There will be some limitations and these limitations were agreed upon by various organizations in anticipation of drier years.

Flows on Mondays in July and August will be designated dry days while the flows on Wednesdays will be dry during the May and June calendar. Most California rafting outfitters discount heavily during the week so some outfitters may be impacted based on their promotions. Most will shift their incentives to avoid these dates to accommodate the public on their river trips.

The South Fork American along with the Middle Fork American may be the best rivers to raft this summer season in California. With the flow agreements, paddlers can at least count on the contracted flows on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

 

Colorado Rafting Trips

The US Forest Service is currently reviewing rafting operations on a proposed run on Tenmile Creek. A two-mile trip from Officers Gulch to Dillon Reservoir. Rafters are excited about offering this trip to the paddling public. The whitewater stretch needs Forest Service approval for this new section. The Forest Service has said that the run would be approved with a temporary permit that would provide limited operations.

Details are being worked out for the exact launch site and a final decision should come by May 1st. According to outfitters that operate on the Blue River trips, the whitewater section will be a fun adventure for the local community as the Lower Blue and popular Arkansas is a bit of a drive away.

US Forest Service is streamlining the permit process by proposing a 10-year permit system instead of a yearly one. This will provide time saving and cost cutting measures for the agency while still providing environmental review.

Contact Cam Meyer, the special use administrator for Dillon District at 970-262-3486.
Public comments are due by April 16, 2007

Thanks to the Summit Daily for this info post!

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Monday, March 26, 2007

 

Rafting - West Virginia

West Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau, Beverly Wellman reflects on tourism dollars spent in their state. Referring to the ski slopes at Winterplace, she notes that as one recreational season ends another begins. In this case, the next outdoor season begins with rafting trips.

Tourism dollars may end when the slopes clear, but those dollars begin in other regions of the state such as whitewater rafting rivers. "Those industries draw a lot of people's attention, and even if people aren't rafters, they know that West Virginia is a nice, natural relaxing place," said Ms. Wellman.

As visitors arrive, they spend money and support local businesses and regions. Rafting season began earlier this month and the rafting outfitters are looking forward to a very strong year.

Thanks to The State Journal for this news post!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

 

Water Rafting Park - Seoul, Korea

A water rafting facility is being built near the Seoul World Cup Stadium in Sangam-dong, Muhwa Ilbo. City Mayor Oh Se-hoon made the announcement last week. The water rafting facility is part of the urban indoor ski resort that will take up approximately 3.3 million square meters near the football stadium. This is Korea's version of Disneyland. Completion date is set for 2010.

The park is divided into three activity sections tht include the indoor ski slope, a biking route and a performing arts center. The water rafting will be centered around the Nanji Stream that flows nearby.

Korea is currently bidding to host the 2014 Olympic Games. The IOC will be announcing their decisions this summer.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

 

Irish International White Water Film Festival

GMIT Castlebar and Drunken Ferret Media present the 4th annual Irish International White Water Film Festival on Friday, March 23 at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar.

A 7pm reception, followed by short feature films about white water canoeing. Directors will be introducing their films. The program will educate the rest of the world on what the Irish whitewater community has to show.

Filming was shot across the globe and features incredible footage of the extreme sport. Whether you’re a white water warrior or not, prepare to be amazed.

Thanks to Mayo Advertiser for this post!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

 

Ocoee River - Tennessee

The Ocoee River outfitters have signed an agreement with the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) to have controlled water releases from the dams. The commercial outfitters have secured a loan to pay the TVA for the water. The loan was secured through the Southeast Tennessee Development District. Eight separate banks along with a federal grant will pay the total of $1.6 M to the federal utility. The loan will guarantee 12 years of water flows for whitewater recreation with each year having 34 days of boatable flows.

The Ocoee River was the original site for the 1996 whitewater competition for the Summer Olympics.

Thanks to the Associated Press for this information.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

 

Satluj River - India

Ehsan Ahmad, Ashiq, Dr. Habib Kanth, Wahid, Riyaz Machloo, Ali Muhammad, Sajad Gasi and Ishafaq Khan are the 2007 team mates of J&K Rafting Association for the 4th India International White Water Rafting Cup. Over 20 teams will be competing on March 10 - 17th on the Satluj River in Himachal Pradesh. The Satluj River has difficult rapids and is quite treacherous. 12 of the teams are from outside of India and the Indian Rafting Association is organizing this year's event.

Four events highlight the competition as each team will have a time trial, head-to-head parallel sprint, slalom round and down-the-hill race. The eight member team from J&K Rafting Association came in 7th place last year and expect to do even better this year. The team recently won 6th place at the national rafting championship held at Reshikesh Uttranchal.

Thanks to Greater Kashmir for this rafting news item!

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Friday, March 02, 2007

 

California Rafting Trips - 2007

Late winter storms have changed the landscape for California rafting trips. A series of storms blanketed the Sierra Nevada with fresh snow that assures the whitewater paddling public that the 2007 rafting season will be normal to above normal in places.

In Northern California, the rivers are already running as die-hard paddlers and kayakers challenge Class 4, Class 5 runs. The Smith, Cal Salmon and Trinity have already started their whitewater season due to precipitation.

On the most popular white water rafting river, the three forks of the American River, paddlers have never stopped rafting throughout the fall and winter months. Kirkwood Meadows received a large snow pack this past week which guarantees great flows on the South Fork American. North Fork American, one of the best Class 4 runs start this month just in time for spring break, while the Middle Fork American should flow from now through September.

Down south, the Kern and the Kaweah will have normal flows according to the rafting outfitters. The recent storms have boosted their river flow expectations to around 60% of normal with more storms coming.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

 

Klamath River Karuk Ceremonies - California

We just received this update from Karuk Mountain Dance Council regarding the Karuk Jump (Mountain) Dance on the Klamath River. The annual Karuk Tribal ceremony is centered at the village of Ameekyaaraam, which is near Ike’s Falls on the Klamath River. As the Karuk Jump (Mountain) Dance Council, they continue to speak for this one dance and this dance only. All rafting companies on the Klamath, please read the letter below:

"We are alerting you to the dates of the Karuk Mountain (Jump) Dance as soon as we are able. We hope that your company will find these dates useful as you develop your rafting schedules.

During the period of AUGUST 6, 2007 through SEPTEMBER 5, 2006, we ask that a “quiet zone” from the Salmon River Bridge at Somes Bar to below Ike’s Falls be observed. We also ask that during this time, there be no takeouts or put-ins at the dance grounds under the Klamath River Bridge on Ishi Pishi Road at the mouth of the Cal Salmon River. We realize that there is a need to “take-out” before the long stretch on the Klamath River to Orleans from Ike’s Falls. Take-outs on the east side of the river, below Ike’s Falls is an option, but please observe the “quiet zone”.

We appreciate your efforts to help us make this religious ceremony comfortable for the Indian families who participate. Please share this information with other rafting companies and others who would find this information helpful. We would like to expand our mailing list, so please encourage those you share this with to contact us so that we can add them to our list.

Thank you so much for your help and cooperation. If you have any questions, please call David and Jan Tripp at (530) 469-3432. Or write us at PO Box 325, Orleans CA 95556."

The Karuk Mountain Dance Council

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Friday, February 23, 2007

 

Swift Water Rescue Founder Passes Away

America Outdoors, the leading professional outdoor adventure organization announced that Jim Segerstrom, the founder of the Swiftwater Rescue Technician Program and a partner in Rescue 3, has passed away on February 5th. Many members of America Outdoors will remember Jim from a Western River Guides Convention in Salt Lake City in 1980 where he spoke to the outdoor industry about a new Swift Water Rescue Certification Program and a new organization called Rescue 3.

The Swift Water Rescue Technician Program under Segerstrom became a highly regarded training program, known worldwide. The training is now offered in over 30 countries throughout the world.

A small stroke on Thursday, February 1, followed by a second one led him to be hospitalized at the neurological ICU at UC San Francisco's Moffitt Hospital where he passed away.

The boating community sends their prayers to the Segerstrom Family. Jim's influence had a profound affect on the whitewater rafting industry. His influence was felt throughout all emergency rescue programs on waterways throughout the country. He was a true pioneer and took his teachings throughout the United States, Japan, South American and Europe.

Thanks to America Outdoors for this News Item

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

 

New Zealand Rafters Found

The 55-year old husband and 47-year old wife missing after a short river rafting run down the Mangakino Stream were found. Their intention was to float down few kilometers to a desingated meeting point just northwest of Taupo.

A helicopter search and rescue team went out that evening looking with night vision goggles after missing the rendezvous. After a long night, the rescuers called it quits and were determined to look again the next day using ground crews and kayakers.

The couple ran out of daylight on the first day and decided to camp that evening. The next morning, the two headed out but ran into problems on the river when their raft was punctured. At that point, they decided to pull over and continued hiking for help. Due to a lack of cell phone coverage, the couple was not able to contact anyone. They were found by a helicopter search during the day.

Two things that they did right: 1) did not try to raft in the dark and 2) let people know when they would be at the take-out. Because of this, they survived their ordeal as rescuers immediately went into alert when the couple did not show up at their designated take-out time. They also took precaution by not trying to navigate the river as darkness approached. Let's hope others learned from this couple's hardship on the river.


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Friday, February 02, 2007

 

California - South Fork American

The whitewater rafting community and its paddlers are rejoicing over the recent agreements with the utility companies on the Upper American River rafting hydroelectric project. SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) has come to an agreement with the boating community to release water from their dam sources for year-round recreation. This historic signing yesterday came after a long five year struggle of negotiations. The agreement will be in place for a 30 to 50 year stretch.

Here is the agreement:
  • Regularly scheduled whitewater releases and guaranteed flows for whitewater rafting below Chili Bar Reservoir year-round in all years of the agreement.


  • Higher flow releases to protect and enhance habitat for aquatic species.


  • Improvements and construction of recreational facilities near reservoirs.


  • $1.3 million per year for recreation and maintenance funding.


  • During drought conditions, flexible operations.

Many groups came together for the historic signing including state and federal resource agencies, environmental groups, whitewater recreation groups and private citizens.

Next step is the relicensing with the Placer County Water Agency's Middle Fork American River. According to representatives of the rafting community, this relicensing should be a lot smoother than the long five year negotiations with SMUD.

The rafting community is in awe of the prospect of having guaranteed flows for every weekend of the year. Imagine, being able to count on flows whenever you want to go rafting!

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

 

North Carolina - French Broad Rafting Co

French Broad Rafting Company is holding a fundraiser tonight. The fire that wiped out their warehouse back in November has created a real hardship for this four year old rafting company. We reported this rafting news item back in November when the owners first reported it.

Michael and Mitch Hampton, owners had no insurance and they will be having a fund raiser tonight at Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville, North Carolina. Cost is $15 per person. A raffle, auction and live music will be presented at this event.

To help this rafting company, visit this link http://www.helpfrenchbroadrafting.net.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

 

Grand Canyon - Colorado River

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office busted a small group of rafters at the put-in at Lee's Ferry right before their launch for a 30-day Colorado river trip through the Grand Canyon. Drugs and paraphernalia were found in their gear by the sheriff's department and the National Park Service rangers.

Getting the chance to river raft the Colorado River on a private permit is a once-in-a-lifetime lottery chance that has had some private boaters wait for 10-years or more. We guess that this group took the concept of "R and R" a bit too literally.

Thanks to Arizona Republic for the news update.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

 

California Rafting Trips

California is experiencing lower than usual rainfall and snow this winter. Beautiful blue skies are taunting outdoor enthusiasts as ski resorts and rafting companies hope daily for winter weather. Normal precipitation for January has been underwhelming as signs of spring are everywhere in the valley. Freezing temperatures have been the norm throughout California as agriculture deals with crop losses.

Bill Center of Camp Lotus, a river campground on the South Fork American assures the rafting public that reservoirs are in healthy condition due to the past two seasons of larger than normal snowpack and precipitation. Negotiations are underway with the utility companies to schedule water releases for this season. Due to the storage of water in those reservoirs, rafting on the South Fork American, the most popular river in the West, should maintain good flows throughout it's season along with the Middle Fork American.

For 2007, California rafting trips should be a great year for families,group rafting youth groups and corporate groups. Most outfitters are reserving their spring and summer trips now. Weekends sell out quickly, so start organizing your California trips soon.

For more information on California whitewater rafting, see the C-W-R.com site, a river description site with a listing of outfitters.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

 

Arkansas River - Colorado

Colorado's Arkansas River saw a 4% increase in 2006. An estimated $73 million dollars of tourism monies were distributed throughout the Upper Arkansas River Valley region. An 11% increase of private kayakers also brought the region an economic boost.

The Arkansas River has Class 1 to 5 rapids throughout is length and is punctuated with incredible scenery and peaks. With 300 days of warm sunshine, rafting, fishing, hiking and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy this area immensely.

Float trips brought many fishermen out between Salida and Vallie Bridge. Joe Greiner and Jody Werner of Colorado River Outfitters Association will be presenting an accounting of the 2006 figures at the annual CROA meeting in February.

Colorado is experiencing a large snowpack this year which should provide for a long and exciting whitewater year. For more information, see the association's website contacts for outfitters in Colorado.


Thanks to CROA and the Aspen Daily News

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Friday, January 12, 2007

 

Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival

This weekend, celebrate "green" by attending one of the many film events in Nevada City, California. The South Yuba River Citizens League is presenting its 5th Annual Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. This is the largest environmental film festival in the country. Presented by Patagonia, the outdoor clothing manufacturer with a reputation for promoting conservation and environmental causes, the festival was originally founded in 2003 by the SYRCL.

The SYRCL has long been a champion for the Yuba River and its watershed. It has become the largest, most successful and effective single watershed organization in California. The Yuba River is located in Northern California on the Western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. There are three forks, the South Fork, Middle Fork and North Fork that make up the Yuba River. A beautiful area, the watershed is bordered by the Feather River, the Truckee River, the Bear River and the American River.

A great companion river to the early spring rafting runs on the North Fork American, the Yuba also highlights difficult Class 4 & 5 whitewater sections. As development and populations encroach on these areas, the SYRCL and other organizations have found much support in the conservation community to preserve these areas and the water quality.

Several film events will be scattered throughout the weekend in Nevada City. 110 films will be presented along with local community support at art galleries, restaurants and retail stores. Film makers and reknown environmentalists will be on-hand to give talks and answer questions throughout the different venues. Here is the information for tickets and locations for the SYRCL film festival.

  • DATE: Friday – Sunday, January 12-14, 2007

  • LOCATION: multiple venues in downtown Nevada City

  • COST: $5 - $210, Tickets available at the SYRCL office or by phone (online demand for tickets has overwhelmed the availability; for purchase go directly to the Festival Ticket Office at 317 Spring St, Nevada City, CA 95959.)

  • CONTACT: South Yuba River Citizens League, 216 Main Street, Nevada City
    (530) 265-5961, www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org

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Friday, January 05, 2007

 

East Carson River - California, Nevada

East Carson River is located near Markleeville, California. At a 5,000 foot elevation the river flows through both California and Nevada. Several public hearings will be held regarding safety issues and recreational needs for the public. The class 3 section boasts beautiful scenery with snowcapped mountains, hot springs along the shore and a great river trip that accommodates young and old. The problems on the river are mostly access and egress points that are not conducive to put-ins and take-outs. Nettles, swampy shoreline, small area and a looming spillway are all dangerous situations for the rafting public.

"The Carson River is a precious natural resource that can provide great enjoyment for recreational boaters and others," said Ed James, vice chairman of the Carson River Regional Recreation Steering Committee. "But it lacks adequate areas to get in and out of the water and contains hazardous objects and debris that threaten public safety and should be removed."

A statewide 10 million dollar bond issue is being proposed to improve the aquatic trail. Carson City supervisors will vote on the proposal on March 15, 2007.

Carson River Aquatic Trail Master plan public hearing schedule:
  • Jan. 9 - 6:30 pm
    Public information meeting, Eagle Valley Middle School, 4151 E. Fifth St.

  • Jan. 16 - 5:30 pm
    Carson City Parks and Recreation Commission, Sierra Room Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

  • Jan. 17 - 6 pm
    Carson City Airport Authority, Sierra Room

  • Jan. 22 - 6 pm
    Carson City Open Space Advisory Committee, Sierra Room

  • Feb. 5 - 6 pm
    Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife, City Hall, Capitol Conference Room, 201 N. Carson St.

  • Feb. 7 - 5:30 pm
    Carson River Advisory Committee, Sierra Room

  • Feb. 28 - 3:30 pm
    Carson City Planning Commission, Sierra Room

  • March 15 - 8:30 am
    Carson City Board of Supervisors, Sierra Room
Thanks to the Nevada Appeal for this info!

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

 

California Winter Storm Warning

Rain and snow will cover most of the West tomorrow. Snow should fall down to 3,000 feet in the Sierras. Good snowpack on the summit for skiers and snowboarders should keep holiday vacationers happy at their favorite resorts though the weather may hamper some.

Currently, freezing rain is falling at Sugar Bowl. A winter storm warning for the pass is in affect as 5 to 8 inches of snow is predicted to fall tonight. An 80% chance that an additional 3 to 5 inches of snow will fall on Wednesday. By tomorrow night, very cold weather will hit the summit with predictions of 13 degrees farenheight.

All this build-up will be helpful for California's water content. A few more months to go until the rafting season starts. Start calling your California rafting outfitter for trips and excursions!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

 

North Fork American NOAA Project

Temporary weather stations were installed on the North Fork American as part of a greater project on the American River. The research project is headed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration. Tim Schneider, manager of the project said, "There's really nowhere else in the U.S. that has this collection of instrumentation." The American River flows will be the proving ground for the Sacramento area since flooding is a major concern.

More than 30 stations were set up along the North Fork American River. The stations will measure a slew of data including a portable Doppler radar that will help to track storms throughout the watershed. Rob Hartman, hydrologist for the National Weather Service River Forecast Center in Sacramento says, "We can pin down which portion of the watershed that's being rained on v.s. snowed on, which has a big impact on flow conditions."

NOAA placed these gauges in an attempt to provide analysis for predicting "Pineapple Express" path of storms that regularly hit the Sacramento Region. These warm storms that hit large snowpacks in the varying watersheds of the Sierras causes a torrent of water to flow from these rivers and towards the metropolitan areas of Sacramento. The warnings could provide better response for dam releases based on these predictions.

Though the stations are temporary, they will eventually replace the current standards as funding is made available.
Thanks to Matt Weiser of the Sacramento Bee

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

 

Santa Surfing!

Rumors of Santa Claus surfing the waves at Hermosa Beach were partially true. When asked if he was the real Santa, he answered, "No, just a relative!" as he once again dove back into the surf. Santa, aka Vince Ray of L.A.'s Original Surfing Lessons, at 6 feet 4 inches, loomed large on his board as he paddled through the waves. In his custom Santa suit made of neoprene, his wetsuit, beard and hat stayed put as he surfed and paddled. Ray made quite a stir with the kids as they all were amused at this surfing Santa.

You better watch out! Santa Claus (the real deal) is coming to town... maybe down the chimney or paddling on the river or surfing in the ocean... but I guarantee you, he'll be there soon.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

 

River, Rafting News - California

Lots of rafting news starting with California's South Fork American River.
More news and blogs can be found on our California rafting news at our website at RAFTWET.com.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

 

California Outdoors - Sierra Snow

California rafting and skiing enthusiasts are rejoicing over this weekend's snowfall in the Sierra's. The National Weather Service reports an additional 18 inches of new snow to drop over the higher elevations around Lake Tahoe today. Donner Summit reports 5 inches of new snow over this past weekend and two of Boreal Ski Resort's lifts were open this past weekend, too.

Winter has been slow in coming to California as warm fronts have given way to clear blue skies and warm weather. Rafters and kayakers will now watch flow charts as winter's breath is blowing. Rain was predicted by this Tuesday as rafters and kayakers watch the American River flows for quickie trips.

As usual, traffic was at a stand-still coming from Interstate 80 going west towards the Bay Area. Holiday traffic was backed up by five miles westbound from Truckee. Traffic was also delayed over Donner Summit due to several vehicle accidents and spin-outs.

Winter is finally here, though we also hear from the National Weather Service an incoming wet storm is arriving on Tuesday. Saturating the ground will give a good beginning to the snowpack as more storms dump on top of this nice wet base.
Thanks to the Union in Grass Valley for this update!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

 

South Fork American Relicensing

Ongoing negotiations on the relicensing of SMUD's (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) eleven dams in the Sierra Nevada have finally come to a satisfactory end. The Upper American River Project (UARP) and specifically the South Fork American River will be managed benefiting interests ranging from environmental, fishing, camping, hiking and boating. A 50 year agreement will show vast improvements along this river corridor. These negotiations have been ongoing for five long years and many key people were involved such as Bill Center; former El Dorado County Board of Supervisor and owner of the popular Camp Lotus campground; and Friends of the River, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving rivers and riparian lands. In all, 13 agencies were involved including government agencies and non-profit organizations. The agreement was reached just in time before a federal deadline that would have extended this long process even longer.

For rafters and kayakers, we can expect to see controlled releases that will give good boatable flows on the South Fork section from Chili Bar to Salmon Falls on the most popular whitewater river in the Western United States. Also, on the upper stretches, the Slab Creek and Silver Creek will have whitewater boating on dependable schedules, a favorite kayaker's run of unprecedented beauty.

W.E.T. River Trips and California outfitters on this section of the American River would like to thank the key people involved in helping to secure this agreement. The thousands of hours put into this process will be well-received by the whitewater public. Next step for next year is the approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

 

Doolittle and Auburn Dam - California

Just read SacBee's Stuart Leavenworth's analysis of California's Flood control issues... especially as it relates to flood control in the valley and the Auburn Dam. Flood control issues are important to Sacramento and the outlying region. Old, crumbling levees have been given a boost by way of Tuesday's election in a bond approximating $4.1 billion. More importantly, key players such as soon-to-be, Speaker of the House, San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi and her friendship with Sacramento's representative, Doris Matsui will prove to be a strong positive influence in how controls will be implemented.

We still have Congressman Doolittle in the 4th District. His past proposals had him pushing for an Auburn Dam that would drown most of the North Fork American River, a very popular Class 4+ run just east of Sacramento. Also, on that hit list would be the Middle Fork American, one of the most popular whitewater runs in the Western United States. When Ms. Matsui's husband, was a congressman, the two opposing reps came to an important compromise for delivering monies to the infrastructure so that a dam could be avoided. What happen? Congressman Robert Matsui died. And the Auburn Dam reared its ugly head again.

With the Democrats winning both the House and the Senate, Doolittle may not have the influence to ram this one through... but beware, in 2008, there will be another election. And who knows which players will be pushed to the front.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

POMBO is gone!

Democrats have won the House. Post election results show that the Senate is still pending and as of this morning, races were too close to call. For environmentalists in California and in the nation, we are glad to report that Pombo has gone down in defeat. A close, very close race was only decided in the wee morning hours. He is the Chairman of the House Resource committee. GOP Pombo, an extremely powerful congressman who proposed the "selling of our national parks" to balance the national budget, was also tied to the Abranoff scandal.

Sierra Club and other groups labeled him an "eco-thug" who also led the movement to open the Alaska's Artic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, to allow coastal drilling, and to thwart the Endangered Species Act.

Check local stories about this race or go to Rachel Gordon's story at the San Francisco Chronicle for more information.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

 

VOTE! November 7, 2006 on Tuesday

Patagonia reminds us to vote November 7, 2006 and that's next Tuesday, people! There are so many environmental concerns during this election. Basically, there are members of Congress who have become very powerful and have created many problems with the Artic Refuge, Rivers, Ocean conservation, Logging, Mining and Drilling, and our Public Lands. Is that enough to get you off the couch and get into that voting booth?

In California, there are two very important elections that could seriously impact or possible stop any progressive ecological or environmental programs. Yes, we're talking about Congressman Doolittle and Pombo. Both have had very adversarial stances on the environment. I'm not trying to convince you to vote against the Republicans; look at how many Democrats are voting for Arnold! But, I am trying to convince you to care about this planet and its resources. Take a look at the voting records and the bills that have been presented by your representatives. Don't let your voice be silent.
iBetty Network

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

 

Wild and Scenic South Fork American River

Tyana, over at Friends of the River, is asking supporters of the new BLM (Bureau of Land Management) proposal for the Wild and Scenic (Recreational) designation for the South Fork American River to attend the bureau's public meeting today.

Written comments to the BLM will be accepted until December 13, 2006.
Meeting time: 6:30PM
Location: El Dorado County Fairgrounds (Corker Bldg) in Placerville, California

For more information, contact Friends of the River
915 - 20th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
916-508-3011

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

 

Whitewater Parks

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials have announced that the Colorado River's whitewater park could be delayed due to the city's refusal to extend a construction easement along the north shore of the river. Carol DeAngelis, the BLM's area manager is quoted,"We cannot go forward with the bidding process unless there is a construction easement."

All the effort so far "will be for naught without access to the right side of the river," she said.

Tim Sarmo, Town Manager for Palisade, has said that officials will work out the differences, but the town is worried about the liability issues and possible threats to safety.

A combined whitewater park and fish passage for the Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker is in the works. For more information on whitewater parks, visit American Whitewater.org.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

 

Navigational Rights

Sara Lin of the Los Angeles Times has written an interesting story about navigational rights on waterways. Titled "Is Lake for Homeowners Only, or Everyone?" Angler Mark Balanos, was trying to fish in Canyon Lake this past August and was threatened with arrest by sheriff deputies after private security guards had told him that he was trespassing onto private lands. He left and now he is suing the homeowners association and the local water district since the reservoir is a publiciy owned waterway that should be opened to the general public. His attorney has cited the recent Carbon Beach situation in Malibu where beachgoers were sent away by private security guards that patrol the private homeowner's beach front properties.

No one owns the water, but in order to arrive and play on that water, one must touchdown onto private lands. And that's where the whole ball of wax begins. In California, navigational rights have already been decided several times and usually court decisions have decided on the side of the public; ie, easement rights to the ocean and river navigational rights. If you can get to the water without trespassing, then you have a right to be there. Or so the public thinks.

In the early 80's there was a rafting outfitter who started commercial rafting on the Merced River. The US Forest Service was and is the governing agency for permits on this whitewater rafting stretch. Without the US Forest Service permission, this outfitter decided to use only private lands to launch and take-out. In other words, no trespassing ever occured onto any US Forest Service lands. So why did the US government haul this rafting company into court and sue them successfully? Some say, that the rafting company had everything stacked against them. I mean, your'e trying to fight a lawsuit against the United States government. That's a pretty deep pocket of money, attorneys and researchers. The fight also left open the entire permitting system. If the court decided against the government; think of the Pandora's Box that would have opened. Every Tom, Dick and Harry could start a rafting company without insurance, without permits, without any restrictions or government interference. Sounds good? Not really. The permit system has helped legitimize our industry. It has also helped convince the general public that government agencies overseeing the health and benefit of the public could assure them of some degree of whitewater rafting safety.

Mr. Bolanos was also quoted as referring to white water rafting,""From what I'd read, from groups that do water rafting, all waters in California are supposed to be free to float on," he said.

"I didn't understand what made this place the exception."

That early 80's decision will be reviewed in this case. Or, will the courts decide in Mr. Bolanos' favor that he indeed had the right to navigate that lake.

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