The Whitewater Wars is an entertaining and at times funny story about the twists and turns in the battle with two federal agencies to save the Ocoee and Gauley Rivers in the early 1980's. It is the story about a young outdoor recreation industry struggling to gain a foothold in rural Appalachia. Living close to the edge at times with relatively little money, rafting and kayaking pioneers in river shorts and sandals were seemingly no match in the battle for these two rivers against powerful federal agencies with billion dollar budgets. They were grossly underestimated.
We were told many times that we were going to lose the battle with TVA for the Ocoee River whitewater. As Mahatma Ghandi once said, " A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. "
Here is what Marc Hunt, one of the first Ocoee River paddlers, has to say about The Whitewater Wars.
"Successful advocacy efforts for the environment are always uphill battles, and winning them requires leaders with vision, grit, and integrity. David Brown brought those qualities in spades to the efforts to save the Ocoee and Gauley rivers. Anyone with passion for protecting America’s rivers, and for that matter anyone who just enjoys hearing about political brawls with powerful federal bureaucracies, will love the quick read that The Whitewater Wars delivers through David’s gifted storytelling."
David Arnold, a cofounder of Class VI River Runners, in Lansing, WV said, “This book does much more than describe how an industry started and grew on the Gauley River and in the mountains of Appalachia. It is the behind-the-scenes account of the power of passion to take on monumental challenges and make change happen. This “David and Goliath” story gives hope to anyone committed to changing the way we do things.”
David L. Brown headed the efforts to preserve recreation opportunities on the Ocoee River in Tennessee and the Gauley River in West Virginia from 1980 to 1985. From those humble beginnings he went on to run the nation's leading outfitter organization until his retirement in 2017.