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Maryland: Youghiogheny

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Kayaker paddles through rapid

Emily Shanblatt, featured here, paddles the Yough. Photo by Jeff Macklin

Youghiogheny River
Location: The Youghiogheny is a 132-mile tributary of the Monongahela River. It begins in West Virginia, flowing through Maryland’s Garrett County and the town of Oakland before entering Pennsylvania.
How to access: The Youghiogheny has several public access points maintained by volunteers that include places to make donations, which help volunteers run the access points. Learn more on the Youghiogheny page on the American Whitewater website.
Difficulty: The upper sections, the Top Yough and the Upper Yough, hold between Class III to V rapids, with most leaning towards the IV classification. The Middle Yough is calmer, with Class I to II water, and is followed by the Lower Yough, a Class III gorge.
Fun Facts: The river is typically called the “Yough.” Despite the deceptive spelling, “Yough” is pronounced like “yok” — think “rock,” but with a “y.” The Yough is also near the Cheat River in West Virginia.
Local Champion: The Yough Riverkeeper is a program of the Mountain Watershed Association and the international Waterkeeper Alliance. Currently, the Riverkeeper program is implementing a comprehensive monitoring plan in the Yough basin. Learn more at mtwatershed.com/yough-riverkeeper.
More info: In addition to the Riverkeeper program, the Mountain Watershed Association provides information on the river, including maps and directions. The association also tracks the safety of the water for swimming. Visit mtwatershed.com. — Sam Kepple

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