The USFS announced today that they will further delay reaching a new decision on how to manage recreation on the Upper Chattooga River (NC/SC/GA). A 2009 decision was withdrawn shortly after its release, and the agency stated a new decision would be released early in the spring of 2010. The decision remains in limbo, the river remains banned to paddling, and the ban is currently being challenged in federal court. The USFS announcement reads as follows:
"In December 2009, the three forests withdrew the
decisions related to recreation uses on the upper Chattooga to complete more analysis.
Specifically, analysis in both the Biological Evaluation (BE) and Biological Assessment (BA) were
based on an alternative that assumed a maximum of four boater groups per boatable day. However,
the selected alternative did not include this limitation. The agency also will have to re-consult
with federal partners for concurrence on the new BA and the new BE so their agreement is on the
Because the Forest Service is committed to making sound and reasoned decisions, we are not limiting our review to the BA and the BE. We are also taking this opportunity to review all of the withdrawn decision documents to ensure we have included the best available information and the most complete analysis, as well as removed all inconsistencies. Undergoing this process will ensure accuracy and reflect the quality analysis completed by our specialists.
When we are prepared to release new, sound, reasoned decisions based on the very best information and analysis, we will let stakeholders, the public and media know. Once the final decisions are made, we will ensure that the decision is implemented in a timely and efficient manner."