A new trend in whitewater sports is the move to man made whitewater parks. The parks are often in central locations in big cities. The parks make it a lot more accessible for people to learn and to train for white water sports. Many of the parks can be used year round and for competitive teams it eliminates a lot of the need to travel to often remote locations for practice. The water ways have moveable objects and the flow of the water can be changed to provide more or less challenge.
This trend started in the early '90s and now North America has more than 50 white water parks. The white water parks not only make the sport more accessible it also makes it safer. You no longer have to be isolated to experience challenge so if anything does happen to you you have immediate help.
I think this will be a very beneficial thing when more people learn about it. I know that my parents would be much more helpful if I wanted to get to a whitewater park in the city instead of having to drive an hour or more to a location outside the city. I don't think that man made white water parks will ever totally take over, there is still something alluring about being in the wilderness.
Conor Mihell, "Wave of the Future", Rapid, Early Summer 2010, Print.