Help Protect S. Sierra Whitewater Rivers (CA)!

Posted: 08/04/2016
By: Megan Hooker

This summer the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo National Forests are seeking feedback from the public on their work to update and revise the Forest Management Plans for all three forests. These plans set the framework for how everything on the forest is managed for the next 20 years, and the revision process provides a rare opportunity to help shape positive change.

The Forests are currently seeking feedback on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the Draft Forest Plans. The agency has sought public feedback on the Forest Planning process numerous times since 2013, and this is the final opportunity to weigh in. Unfortunately, the agency's draft analysis on Wild and Scenic Rivers has missed the mark in a very big way relating to whitewater recreation. The Forest Service inventoried 3,754 miles of river on all three forests, and found that just 11.1 miles had rafting or kayaking values. If you love the Southern Sierra rivers found within the Inyo, Sierra and Sequoia National Forests, it is very important that you comment before August 25th.

What Happened with Wild and Scenic?

During the Forest Planning process, the Forest Service is required to 1) complete a comprehensive inventory of rivers on the forest, and 2) determine whether those rivers are eligible for as Wild and Scenic. An "eligible" river is one that is freely flowing and has at least one “outstandingly remarkable value,” which can include things like pristine water quality, strong fish and wildlife populations, unique geology, or special recreational experiences.

Since 2013, American Whitewater has advocated that numerous whitewater gems on these Forests (like Dinkey Creek, North Fork Kings and Brush Creek) be inventoried and found eligible for their whitewater recreation value (see comments posted at right). However, Appendix C of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (the Wild and Scenic Section) does not inventory some whitewater rivers and neglects the whitewater recreation value of others (including Dinkey Creek!). For more details on which rivers were not inventoried and which ones were but not valued for whitewater recreation, see below.

Take Action!

We need your help showing the Forest Service that whitewater rivers on the Inyo, Sierra and Sequoia National Forests are important to the whitewater community, and that people travel from all over the world to paddle some of them. Specifically, you can help by sharing your stories, photos, videos (PG-13, please!) and websites of your time on these rivers. Help the Forest Service understand the whitewater recreation values these rivers hold by speaking to how and why these rivers are important to you.

Be sure to request that the Forest Service:

1) Inventory Brush Creek, Middle Fork Tule, Dry Meadow Creek and Granite Creek, and the entire length of Dinkey Creek; and
2) Note the outstandingly remarkable whitewater recreational values on Dinkey Creek, North Fork Kings, Kings, San Joaquin, South Fork and Middle Fork San Joaquin, Piute Creek, Big Creek, Big Creek, Mono Creek, Bear Creek, Hot Creek and North Fork Willow Creek, Lower Kern, Brush Creek, Middle Fork Tule, Dry Meadow Creek and Granite Creek

If there are other rivers that you want to see considered that are on the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo National Forests, include them. Please also e-mail American Whitewater with your information or if you have questions.

How to Comment

You can comment either through our partnership with Outdoor Alliance here, or through the Forest Service's website directly here.

You can learn more about the Forest Plan Revision process here.

If you live in Southern California and want to get more involved, attend a recreational Forest Planning Workshop on Sunday, August 7th in Arcadia, or Monday, August 8 in Santa Monica.

More Information on Rivers the Forest Service Failed to Inventory/Consider Whitewater Recreation Values

The Forest Service failed to inventory these runs:

The agency also has failed to note the whitewater value of these runs:

Additionally, the Forest Service did not accept AW's recommendation to re-evaluate ORV’s on rivers that are already eligible, including the Lower Kern, Kings, South Fork San Joaquin and Middle Fork San Joaquin. The old management plans do not mention the whitewater values of these rivers, and American Whitewater requested that they be updated.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!