The name is short for Paddling Alberta and BC.
PaddlingABC was formed in the winter of 2009 with a flurry of posts on CalPaddle (Calgary area paddling forum, now on Facebook) and a face to face meeting to set some priorities. The challenge for the whitewater paddling community in the west is that the Stewart Smith guidebooks we all treat as bibles are now out of print and becoming harder and harder to find. These guidebooks are in many ways still the gold standard for us all and we owe a great debt to Stewart and the work he put into them. In order to address this challenge PaddlingABC was created. It has gone through three versions and is always a work in progress. In 2014 the management of PaddlingABC was taken over by both Paddle Alberta and the Alberta Whitewater Association.
One of the key challenges facing paddling websites is that they are often well maintained for a period of months or years and then when whomever is managing them moves on to other things in life they languish in cyberspace eventually becoming outdated. In order to address this challenge it was PaddlingABC was conceived as a wiki based website from the outset. In addition to this it is now jointly overseen by the two provincial paddling bodies ensuring that the upkeep and maintenance on the site is ensured for years to come.
In developing the structure for this website a number of other goals were laid out beyond having a basic wiki, not all of which have been accomplished yet. Google Earth integration was an obvious and important goal and on this front we have largely succeeded. Developing a system for river alerts was a another important goal and has been successfully achieved with the river alerts being automatically posted to Facebook and Twitter. Providing live river levels on the site is one of our biggest accomplishments as this is the information paddlers most frequently want to access.
PaddlingABC is continuing to grow and in 2013 we reached a milestone of having over 100 entries in the RiverWiki and over 28,000 visits from over 11000 unique users. PaddlingABC is thriving!