Chattooga Headwaters Sample comments on Sumter Forest Plan July 2003

posted June 24, 2003
by Don Kinser

You may cut and paste the text below into an email or you can download a word document of the sample letter here and mail, fax or email the letter.

 

It is very important that you include your name, address, phone number etc. Also if you have the time to personalize your comments they can be more effective. For example, here are some excellent personal comments from Milt Aitken to consider.

 

FAQ: Should I hand write my comments or just send an email?

 

Answer: What is most important is that you comment! So which ever you are more willing to do is the best way. Certainly well thought out, specific, and personal comments are best but don't let that get in the way of commenting at all.

 

FAQ: If I email my comments should I also mail a hardcopy?

 

Answer: A hard copy is not necessary, but if you would like to send one please do. It can't hurt.

 

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++++++++++++++++++Sample Email Starts Below +++++++++++++++++++++

 

June 24, 2003

 

Sumter National Forest

Content Analysis Team

PO Box 221150
Salt Lake City, UT  84122.

 

Fax : (801) 517-1015

 

Email: sumter@fs.fed.us

 

Re: Comments Regarding the Proposed Sumter Forest Plan and DEIS

 

Dear Content Analysis Team,

 

I wish to comment on the proposed Sumter Forest Plan. After careful consideration I believe the Forest Service should modify Alternative I (the proposed Forest Plan) to allow boating on the Chattooga headwaters as described in Alternative E of Appendix H of the DEIS.

 

Only Alternative E in Appendix H allows boaters the same "sense of place" afforded to other existing user groups in this management area. The strong emotional attachment, deep feeling of belonging and powerful connection that I feel for the Chattooga Rivernever seems to be given the same consideration by the Agency as that of other users. The Chattooga's headwaters are an important whitewater resource and I should have the ability to legally enjoy this beautiful place.

The Agency's studies support the fact that year round boating above Hwy 28 makes sense. Appendix H shows:

 

1)     Boating is self regulating based on precipitation and water levels.

2)     There are very few days of available river use each year so boating use would be minimal.

3)     No negative ecological or biological impacts.

4)     No significant capital expenditures for improvements is required.

5)     Slightly impacts only one user group (non-back country anglers) and that impact is stated in the document "that angler solitude from interaction would not be as much of a concern" and any interaction would be best measured in seconds.

 

Other studies also show that back country anglers are less prone to fish at the higher flows that I would prefer as a boater. Furthermore all river safety/rescue books and manuals state "wading in water above ankle height, can lead to foot entrapment and death." River levels above 2.0 feet at the Hwy 76 Bridge gauge would indicate those deadly conditions existed for wading in the river above Hwy 28.

 

In addition to allowing boating in the Chattooga headwaters I believe these other key points are important in the final Forest Plan:

 

1)     Shuttle permits on the Chattooga must be strictly limited to two with strict number limitations and safety concerns met.

2)     Any new bridges over the river should be worthy of a National Wild and Scenic river of the Chattooga's caliber.

3)     Increases in Wilderness and Wilderness study areas, greatly expanded riparian corridors, watershed restoration, more management for old growth, wild and scenic area designations for eligible streams and less timber harvest.

4)     Increases in road less areas, focus on improved water quality in the watershed, especially in the Stekoa Creek drainage.

5)     Increased protection of rare plant communities and specific forest habitats.

6)     Promote black bear management areas as described in Alternative B.

 

American Whitewater has done a good job in stating the case for boating access in the Chattooga Headwaters in their official comments to the Forest Service and I urge you to carefully consider their analysis and open the river above highway 28. It is the right thing to do.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Include your Full name, Mailing address, Phone Number and email