Yellowstone Park Wild and Scenic River Meetings This Week
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are hosting two "scoping" meetings this week in order to help them craft a good management plan for newly designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in the parks. These meetings will help them define the "outstanding remarkable values" of the rivers, and then create a plan for protecting and enhancing those values. The plan will also dictate the types and amounts of recreational use allowed on the rivers. Paddlers are encouraged to attend these meetings if possible. For those unable to attend, the parks are accepting written comments through the end of December.
The first meeting is Tuesday, November 30, at 5pm in Jackson Wyoming's Snow King Resort. The second meeting is Thursday, December 2, at 5pm at the Bozeman Public Library. The rivers in question are: the Buffalo Fork of the Snake, the Gros Ventre River, the Lewis River, Pacific Creek, and the Snake River from its source to Moose Wyoming (not including Jackson Lake). Paddlers are encouraged to learn more about the meeting details and review the scoping newsletter which serves as a call for comments (download at the bottom of the page linked above).
Of the 393 units of the National Park System, only 3 prohibit paddling on their rivers, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks prohibit paddling on all rivers and streams with the exception of the Snake River and a short section of the Lewis River between Lewis and Shoshone lakes. We suggest that paddlers ask Grand Teton and Yellowstone to fully analyze, recognize, and support paddling on all Wild and Scenic rivers under their management. To do so is consistent with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, is consistent with national river management practices, and is in the public interest. Paddlers are also encouraged to share other values associated with these rivers that you feel are important to protect and enhance.
American Whitewater played a role in the designation of these rivers as Wild and Scenic and is looking forward to working with the Park Service and our regional partners on a management plan that protects and enhances the rivers for generations to come, while welcoming the public to responsibly explore the rivers in kayaks, canoes, and rafts.