The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) has denied Red Flat Mining Corporation's application for a water right for exploratory mining activities in the headwaters of Baldface Creek and the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River! The international mining company seeks to develop a nickel strip mine in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area, which is one of the most remote and expansive backcountry areas in Southern Oregon. This is an important victory in the effort to protect the crystal clear waters of Southern Oregon, however our work is far from over.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department wants to hear from you about whether three Oregon rivers should be protected as State Scenic Waterways. Sections of the Molalla, Chetco and Grand Ronde, all of which are well known and loved by Pacific Northwest paddlers, are up for consideration. The agency is seeking public feedback. Comments can be emailed or you can respond to a short survey by October 15th.
California's Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests are home to many rivers cherished by the whitewater community, including the Kern, Kings, and Merced Rivers and Dinkey Creek. On Monday, September 29th, American Whitewater asked the Forest Service to recognize the importance of these and other rivers for whitewater recreation activities, and to update and expand protections for them. Our comments come as the three forests begin the NEPA process for updating their forest management plans.
American Whitewater was recently notified that our appeals of the new Forest Plans for the Kootenai and Panhandle National Forests were successful. These forests, in northern Montana and Idaho respectively, contain incredible whitewater streams where paddlers might see grizzly bears, 10-foot white sturgeons, or even a caribou. The result of our successful appeals will almost certainly be the protection additional rivers and streams from hydropower dams and other threats.
At the last meeting of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, outdoor business leaders, advocates like Annie Henderson of the Upper Colorado River Private Boaters Association, realtors and concerned citizens gathered to urge the Board to make sure that river-based recreation receives equal consideration in the upcoming Colorado Water Plan.
American Whitewater is supporting a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers that strives to clarify which streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. This rulemaking is currently under threat in the House by H.R. 5078, which could go to a vote as early as Tuesday, September 9th. If passed, the bill would stop the current rulemaking dead in its tracks. Please stand up for clean water, contact your representatives and make your voice heard!
American Whitewater congratulates the Garrett College Adventuresport Institute for managing another successful season of Savage River whitewater releases. The river, which hosted the 1989 World Slalom and Whitewater Championships, offers five miles of very continuous Class III-IV whitewater that's a joy to paddle. Program Director Mike Mike Logsden and other Garrett College personnel arranged parking, shuttle service, put-in and take-out access, release of liability for the stake-holders, and the removal of dangerous river debris. Takeout procedures this year were re-designed to avoid a dangerous road crossing. Expenses related to the shuttle service and strainer removal was paid by donations from participating boaters. If you enjoyed yourself, send a brief thank you to firstname.lastname@example.org
After an initial round of meetings, earlier in the summer, the Oregon State Marine Board has announced that they will be doing another round of meetings and will continue to seek feedback on the needs of the non-motorized boating community. We encourage those who paddle in Oregon to join the conversation and provide feedback through the meetings or an online survey.
If you're in the PNW and can't make it to Gauley Fest, come celebrate Wilderness and the dry side of the Cascades with Wilderness Weekend, September 18th - 20th in Bend, Oregon. Events include the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, 27th Desert Conference and the WilderFest Block Party. Come on out to one or all of these events!