The American Whitewater organization, known affectionately as AW by whitewater kayakers and canoeists alike, is the premier whitewater paddling organization in the United States. AW's main goal is to protect and conserve rivers all over the United States while providing for the opportunity for people to enjoy them safely. Most of their fundraising takes place through killer events around the country such as Gauley Fest and other gatherings of paddling, river, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Background and Mission of AW
American Whitewater is a member based organization comprised of individuals who love whitewater and rivers, conservationists, and paddling clubs all over the United States. Founded in 1954, AW was originally called American White Water Affiliation, or the AWWA. It officially incorporated as a national non-profit organization in 1961 and officially came to be known as the American Whitewater Affiliation or the AWA. At its core the AWA’s purpose was to encourage the enjoyment, preservation, safety, and promotion of America’s recreational waterways, specifically those containing whitewater. In recent years the AWA has shortened its name to simply American Whitewater or the AW.
What AW Does
American Whitewater’s main efforts are spent on river stewardship. As they work to protect and revitalize rivers, they stay on top of the issues that affect this national resource. In this they raise awareness of the issues and have become the public voice to the government in what would otherwise go unchallenged with regard to the issues affecting rivers. While their actions are very official, AW members affectionately remember the camaraderie and just sheer enjoyment of the various festivals and fundraising events that AW hosts all around the rivers of the U.S.
American Whitewater is a member-based organization consisting of both individuals and local paddling clubs. While their efforts are enjoyed by every person who has every whitewater rafted, canoed, or kayaked in the U.S. over the last 40 years, AW can't educate, protect, and advocate for river resources without paying members. American Whitewater membership earns supporters a whole host of benefits. Some of these include receiving the bi-monthly American Whitewater Journal, unlimited access to numerous resources and events, access to AW forums, receive exclusive vendor discounts, and many other members' only specials.