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Stewardship Initiatives
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A few of the ways that ACA staff, Paddle America Clubs, and volunteers across the country are working on behalf of all paddlers:


ACA and Outdoor Alliance support the designation of the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area

The Mountains to Sound Greenway, which spans the state of Washington, includes spectacular resources for the human powered recreation community. The ACA and other members of the Outdoor Alliance strongly support the designation of this greenway as a National Heritage Area, and commend Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Dave Reichert for their efforts to pass National Heritage Area legislation for the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

To read the Outdoor Alliance's letter of support, click here.


EPA finalizes the Clean Water Rule

ACA fully supports the EPA's Clean Water Rule, which will protect streams and wetlands from degradation and pollution.

 Read more about the Clean Water Rule here. 


ACA, Outdoor Alliance, and Outdoor Alliance for Kids all show their support for Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of the most important tools we have to conserve public lands and improve recreation. It's set to expire in Fall 2015, and we're urging lawmakers to permanently renew it. 

Read our letters of support here and here.


ACA signs on to thank Senators for the No Child Left Inside Act of 2015

ACA and Outdoors Alliance for Kids signed a letter thanking Senators Mark Kirk and Jack Reed and Representatives Mike Fitzpatrick and John Sarbanes for their leadership involving the No Child Left Inside Act. This bill will encourage the integration of outdoor learning into regular school curriculum, provide grants to school districts, and support teacher training.

Read the letter here.


ACA and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids thank President Barack Obama for establishing the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative

ACA joined 47 other members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids to thank President Obama for his “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, which waves entrance fees to public lands for fourth graders and their families during the 2015-2016 school year. 

To read the letter, click here.

ACA speaks up in support of a proposed no-wake zone on the Catawba River in North Carolina

The proposed no-wake zone on the Catawba River has been a subject of contention between paddlers and power boaters in North Carolina. ACA has commented on the issue, urging the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to establish the no-wake zone, allowing North Carolina boaters to safely access public waters. 

To read ACA's comments, click here.


ACA writes a letter to New Mexico Senators urging them to reconsider bills that would limit access to New Mexican rivers and streams 

2015 New Mexico Senate Bill 226 proposes amending section 17-4-7 New Mexico Statutes Annotated 1978, which would redefine the ownership of New Mexico stream beds and restrict public access to these  resources. ACA contacted New Mexico Senators to express our opposition to this bill.   

To read the letter, click here.


ACA and other organizations join in writing Members of Congress on Fire Suppression Funding Solutions

The Partner Caucus on Fire Suppression Funding Solutions believes that the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, S. 1875 and H.R. 3992, offers a promising approach to managing emergency wildfire suppression costs without impacting other priority programs within the responsible agencies. This bill would fund a portion of the USFS and DOI wildfire suppression costs through a budget cap adjustment similar to the budget cap adjustment currently in use by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

To Read the Letter, Click Here.

ACA comments on the East Branch of the Little Calumet River NPS Environmental Assessment 

The purpose of this letter is to express the ACA's support of opening the Little Calumet River East Branch, a tributary to Lake Michigan, to paddling, and the development of a National Water Trail on the East Branch of the Little Calumet River.

            To Read the Letter, Click Here.

ACA joins 62 others in writing to the Secretary of Agriculture for the 2008 Tongass National Forest Plan 

The Tongass National Forest is in southeast Alaska. We worte to express our support for a land management plan for the Tongass 

National Forest that ends large-scale old growth logging and shifts management focus on the Tongass Towards sustainable, job-creating industries like fishing, tourism and recreation.

To Read the Letter, Click Here.

ACA Supports Utah House Bill 37 - Protecting Public Water & Property Rights

This bill helps restore historical public uses of streams that are capable of floating cut timber or that can be navigated by recreational boats during ordinary high water. It allows wading, walking and fishing in the stream corridor below the ordinary high water mark.

To Learn More, Click Here.





ACA Supports Virginia Senate Bill 629 - Freedom to Float

The ACA believes this bill is a smart approach to allow non-motorized vessels to use non-tidal rivers, streams, and creeks for the purpose of recreation. SB629 allowes paddlers to float on drainage areas of at least seven square miles. These paddlers are not held liable for civil or criminal trespass for travel upon non-tidal rivers, streams, or creeks within this strict drainage area solely for recreation. 

 To Learn More, Click Here.


21 Century Conservation Service Corps

The ACA, a member of the Outdoor Alliance for Kids, signed on to express support for the development of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, and to urge the President to make 21CSC a highlighted Presidential priority.

To Learn More, Click Here.


Protecting Oceans

The ACA along with businesses, and groups concerned with the future of our oceans and coastal resources urged congerees of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to protect our oceans and coasts by supporting the National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO) and opposing any effort to undermine the National Ocean Policy.

To Learn More, Click Here.


The ACA Supporting Climate Protection on Earth Day

On May 22, 2013 in Fredericksburg Virginia, where the ACA's National Office is located Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw helped celebrate Earth Day by signing the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. 

The signing took place at Old Mill Park, 2410 Caroline Street at 4 p.m. The support for this agreement is significant because more than two-thirds of the American population currently live in cities which are disproportionately affected by global climate change. Over 1,060 mayors across the nation have signed the agreement.

To learn more, Click Here. 


Outdoor Alliance for Kids on the Mall

The ACA staff and Board President Anne Maleady joined Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell Wednesday June 26, 2013 walking, talking and having fun with 100 local youth at the "Kids, Youth and the Great Outdoors Festival” on the National Mall. Part of Great Outdoors America Week, Secretary Jewell was joined by White House Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, The Wilderness Society President Jaime Williams, and members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.


Rock the Boat, Saving America's Wildest River

The ACA supports a film that stars George Wolfe and the journey he takes to protect and allow access on the Los Angeles River. In the summer of 2008, George Wolfe, a satirical writer and avid boater decided to paddle the entire 52 miles of the Los Angeles River, from the headwaters in Canoga Park to its mouth in Long Beach. He organized an expedition and, together with a dozen other ragtag locals he changed the course of the river forever. This film tells their incredible story, the story of the embattled waterway, and the story of Los Angeles' past, present and potential future. 




Update on the Chattooga River Access

For years the ACA has partnered with American Whitewater in an effort to open the Chattooga River headwaters to boaters. Recently, we jointly sued the U.S. Forest Service seeking to overturn a 2009 rule continuing the boating ban. 

Overall, the plaintiffs presented a clear case that was well documented and executed. The attorneys were masterful in answering the judge's questions and kept on point with the key aspects of their case. The USFS was on the defensive and weak on the main points of boating limits, bans and the aspect of actual interference with the anglers.

"The paddlers had their day in court, presented a strong case, which hopefully will set a good precedent for the future." - Respectfully submitted by ACA Board member Sam Fowlkes 

To learn more, Click Here.




Maryland House Bill 797 

On April 9th 2013 Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley signed HB 797 into law allowing greater access along the states bridges and roadways.  This accomplishment will allow greater recreation opportunities for paddlers, improve safety for paddlers and motorists, stimulate the economies and livability of local communities, and enhance the health and quality of life by providing these beneficial recreation opportunities. 

To learn more, Click Here.



Return of the River

Return of the River is a film about the largest dam removal project in the history of the United States. In mid-September 2011, contractors started a three-year, $351 million project to remove the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams in order to restore a free-flowing river.

The ACA is proud to be able to support this monumental film documenting a very exciting time in river conservation history.

Read more about the film and watch the trailer here.

Colorado Roadless Rule

Working with the Outdoor Alliance and the Outdoor Industry Association, the ACA submitted comments pertaining to the State of Colorado's draft rule to the U.S. Forest Service.  Colorado has over 4 million acres of National Forest and this rule would have a significant impact on all forms of human-powered recreation.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a state of Wyoming and Colorado Mining Association petition on February 16, 2012, that sought to overturn the 2001 National Forest roadless rule. The ruling reaffirmed a three-judge decision issued on Oct. 21, 2011, that upheld the roadless rule, passed under former President Bill Clinton, which prohibits development on nearly 60 million acres.

"The Obama administration will decide next month between the state rule and a legally buttressed national rule. The state rule would restrict road-building and tree-cutting on about 4.2 million acres. The national rule bans roads on 4.4 million acres of the 14.5 million acres of national forest in Colorado.Read more: Colorado officials push for forest-road rule." -- Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, 2/21/2012

- ACA and other OA partners comment on the CCR- July 2011
- ACA/ OA recommendations for the State rule meeting the "as strong or stronger" criteria set forth in the national rule- Nov 2011
- Recommended Upper Tier Areas

Photo Courtesy of CO DNR

Florida's HB 1103: Redefining the "Ordinary High Water Line"

The ACA recently opposed Florida’s HB 1103,  which would redefine the present "Ordinary High Water Line.” Redefining the high water line would result in huge transfers of publicly owned land along the State's rivers, lakes and streams into private ownership, amounting to the loss of thousands of acres of land that now belong to the people of Florida and the many paddlers and anglers who enjoy those waters. 

ACA opposition was presented to the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee members on January 17, 2012, by Eric Draper, President of the Florida Audubon Society. It was voted favorably and passed on in a 9-4 vote. The bill now resides in the Civil Justice Subcommittee of the House (and it's sister bill in the Senate SC 1362 has yet to be voted on).

"Again, thanks to all the paddlers, airboaters, waterfowl hunters, fishers and birdwatchers who raised their voices this week to defend our rights to get on the water and use and preserve the wet part of the freshwater shore. We were especially grateful to the American Canoe Association for engaging on this important issue." -- Audubon of Florida Advocate

Read the ACA's letter of opposition here.
See the ACA acknowledged in the Audubon Society's letter to Florida members and supporters.

Opposing Waste Water on the Edisto

The ACA has been working in conjunction with the South Carolina Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Friends of the Edisto, and the Palmetto Paddlers to oppose an agreement between Saluda County Water and Sewer Authority (SCWSA) and the town of Batesburg-Leesville (BL) that would allow for an additional 1 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater be transferred to the BL Wastewater Treatment Plant and discharged into Duncan Creek, a tributary of the Edisto River.

Combined with the current discharge rates, this additional 1 MGD would exceed the permitted discharge capacity of the plant in during the wet season, making the Edisto vulnerable to raw sewage in times of overflow. The Edisto, reported to be the longest free-flowing blackwater river in the United States, is an iconic river of the South Carolina Lowcountry, both unique for its ecological traits and it recreational value. Combining with the Ashepoo and Combahee, the Edisto forms the ACE Basin, one of the largest undeveloped estuaries on the east coast of the United States and stands as a prime model for cooperation in conservation through the ACE Basin Project. The BL-SCWSA agreement jeopardizes both the ecology and recreational values that make the Edisto such a valuable river system.

Read the ACA letter of opposition here.

Source: SC State Research

Do One Thing for Paddling

Want to give back to your local waterway or paddling community?  Here's a great way to share your commitment to paddlesports.

Whether it's a certain amount of plastic bottles picked up in a given year or teaching a free class to youth, let others know how you'll make the world a better place to paddle!

Do One Thing for Paddling

Do One Thing for Paddling

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was set aside 50 years ago for its "unique wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values." The US Fish and Wildlife Service has recently drafted a Comprehensive Conservation Plan/ Environmental Impact Statement (CCP/EIS) outlining a vision and goals for the area. Threatened by pressure for oil and gas leasing, exploration, and production, this area's biological diversity and ecological value is priceless and deserves to be protected.

The ACA and over 200 other organizations signed on to comments produced by the Alaska Coalition urging the FWS to adopt the Vision and Goals outlined in the Draft CCP/IES and to recommend a Wilderness designation for the Arctic Refuge's Coastal Plain Wilderness Study Area.

Comments on the Arctic Refuge Draft CCP/EIS
Photo Credit: US Fish & Wildlife Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Chattooga River

For years the ACA has partnered with American Whitewater in an effort to open the Chattooga River headwaters to boaters. Recently, we jointly sued the U.S. Forest Service seeking to overturn a 2009 rule continuing the boating ban.

On December 2, 2010 a judge in South Carolina issued a decision that rejected the USFS's motion to dismiss the case. This will allow the case to move forward and AW and ACA will have the opportunity to present evidence of why the ban is unjustified.

Both ACA Executive Director Wade Blackwood and AW Executive Director Mark Singleton attended the hearing in South Carolina.

In August of 2011, the ACA signed AW's letter to the United States Forest Service opposing the environmental assessment (EA) of the titled "Managing Recreation Uses in the Upper Segment of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River Corridor.” The EA violates many basic laws, regulations, and policies regarding land and resource management, and "transparently aims to reach a predetermined goal of limiting paddling." We will continue to work with AW to try to bring equity to the recreational use of the Chattooga and open its waters to boaters.  

Chattooga River. Photo Courtesy of Mark Singleton.

Clean Air Act

The ACA has teamed with the National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited and over a hundred other organizations to oppose any effort to weaken the Clean Air Act.  Kayak fishermen and women - this also has implications for mercury levels in our nations waterways.

Letter to Senators and Representatives 

Clean Air Act

Land & Water Conservation Fund

The ACA continues to advocate for full funding of the LWCF through permanent appropriations.  The House passed a full funding bill at the end of July, but the Senate has not yet acted.  The ACA is working with the LWCF Coalition to urge the Senate to take action.  In the fall of 2010, the ACA organized local human-powered recreation organizations from California, Minnesota and Montana to communicate their support directly to their respective Senators.

The ACA appauds the America's Great Outdoors Report to the President calling for full funding of the LWCF.


Land & Water Conservation Fund

Chesapeake Bay Treasured Landscape Initiative

The ACA has joined 22 notable other organizations and agencies in calling for the creation of a Chesapeake Bay Treasured Landscape Initiative in response to President Obama's Chesapeake Executive Order 13508.

The main focus of this initiative is to acquire a strong federal commitment and funding for:

  • Conserving the Chesapeake's landscapes
  • Enhancing public access
  • Improving interpretation and public education
  • Promotion of citizen stewardship
  • Restoration of critical fish & wildlife habitats

The ACA serves on the Access Committee and has a goal of adding 300 access points by 2025.

Letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

ACA working to improve access and water quality on the Chesapeake Bay

America's Great Outdoors

The ACA is excited to be a part of this significant initiative.

In conjunction with the Outdoor Alliance and the Outdoor Industry Association, we sponosred eight "home grown" listening sessions to ensure that the human-powered recreation community is fully able to communicate it's ideas to AGO's leadership.

In addition, the ACA submitted a range of paddling and water consevation ideas through AGO's "Idea Jam".

We will continue to monitor, comment and participate as this initiative continues to develop.

America's Great Outdoors

Nantahala River - Access

The Wayah Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service recently approved a Temporary Use Permit program for the Nantahala River.  However, since a limited number of permits are only available Monday through Thursday during the summer, this fails to meet the needs of camps and clubs.

The ACA is exploring options for appealing this decision.

Read the ACA - AW joint letter from September.

ACA Legend of Paddling Award recipient Payson Kennedy at Nantahala Falls

Lackawaxen River - Access

The ACA is assisting local paddlers in the Upper Delaware region with their efforts to restore access to the Lackawaxen River in northeast Pennsylvania. 

This is a valuable whitewater resource and we hope our combined efforts will assist the PA Fish and Boat Commission in reestablishing access.

Lackawaxen River - Photo Courtesy of Daniel Case

Potomac River - White's Ford - Access

The ACA is assisting the Northern Virginia Reginal Parks Authority in the development of a canoe and kayak launch at White's Ford on the Potomac River.

Volunteers Mike Aronoff and Greg Mallet-Prevost are providing valuable input.

Photo Courtesy of Tom Fuchs

Tuckaseegee River - Dam Removal

Thanks to the ongoing commitment of several ACA volunteers, American Whitewater and several other user groups, the dam on the Tuckaseegee River in Dillsboro, NC has finally been removed. 

After almost 10 years of red tape, Duke Energy was finally able to begin the removal process. This is one key component of the larger plan dealing with the relicensing of the dams on the Tuckaseegee and Nantahala Rivers.  Part of the agreement calls for improvements to river access and new flow releases. 

For those paddlers accustomed to floating the section upstream of the former dam site, please note that a new set of rapids have now formed and take the appropriate precautions.

Special thanks to ACA members who were integral throughout this entire process:

  • Board member, Sam Fowlkes 
  • SWR Instructor Trainer, Justin Padgett
  • Whitewater Canoe Instructor, Burt Kornegay

ACA helped in the dam removal process

Green Infrastructure Bill

Working with our partners at the Clean Water Network, the ACA urged Senators to co-sponsor the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act, S. 3561. 

This legislation would reduce polluted stormwater runoff by encouraging the use of green infrastructure techniques.


ACA comments on the Green Infrastructure Act


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