We have a number of excellent places to research new runs in our area. Many of these resources are freely available on the web. When more information is desired, a good old fashioned guide book is hard to beat. Fortunately, this area has a number of excellent local authors like Ed Gertler, Ed Grove, Bob Burrell and Brian MacKay. Here are some of the local guide books you probably should add to your library over time. Most can be purchased at local outfitters and REI stores and may be less expensive there.
Hiking, Cycling, and Canoeing in Maryland: A Family Guide
By Bryan MacKay
Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails
By Ed Gertler
Note: The most comprehensive paddling guide for Maryland streams
Keystone Canoeing: A Guide to Canoeable Waters of Eastern Pennsylvania
By Ed Gertler
Classic Virginia Rivers: A Paddlers Guide to Premier Whitewater and Scenic Float Trips in the Old Dominion State
By Ed Grove
A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia, 5th Edition
By Paul Davidson & Ward Eister
Note: We affectionately call this “The Bible”
Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia
By Roy Weil & Mary Shaw
Note: The is the American Youth Hostel book and it is the best for Western Pennsylvania
Kayak: The Animated Manual of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater Technique
By William Nealy
Note: Outrageously funny and excellent descriptions of paddling features and techniques
Note: William Nealy is a member of the Whitewater Hall of Fame and has a number of very humorous books and illustrated river maps
Appalachian Whitewater, Volume II The Central Mountains
By Ed Grove, Bill Kirby, Charles Walbridge, Ward Eister, Paul Davidson & Dirk Davidson
Note: Excellent maps, river descriptions, and maps of the most popular runs in Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. I often take this book with me on trips.
Many paddlers shy away from the locals, often in fear of upsetting them. In my experience, locals love to talk about their area and are often quite curious about our sport. Many locals once you gain their friendship know a great deal about their areas. Few people can match the knowledge of river bottoms like fly fishermen. They are great for helping you find out where strainers are located since they use those features. People that live in the area know where the closest hospital is located and decent doctors, mechanics, and restuarants. Many locals have served us boaters over the years by providing current river levels. This assistance is becoming even more valuable as states are removing automated gauges to save money. Local hikers can tell you where the nearest trails are in case you need to evacuate an injured boater. I have benefited immensely over the years from locals.
The web has a great deal of information we need for boating. I use the AW (American Whitewater) site for nearly all my trips to check river gauges. The following article lists a large number of paddling related web sites you may be interested in: Web Resources.