Mokelumne River is a California State Wild and Scenic River!
By: Evan Stafford
Decades of home grown advocacy, including heavy lifting done by our colleagues at Foothill Conservancy and Friends of the River has finally resulted in the permanent protection of thirty-seven miles of the North Fork and main stem of the Mokelumne River.
Like the Federal Act upon which it was modeled, the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act affords, “certain rivers which possess extraordinary scenic, recreational, fishery, or wildlife values shall be preserved in their free-flowing state, together with their immediate environments for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the state.” Throughout the long campaign for State Wild and Scenic designation American Whitewater provided key information on whitewater opportunities found throughout the Mokelumne watershed. Those findings were incorporated into a California Natural Resources Agency study which spurred the bill containing the Wild and Scenic designation. The study specifically identified whitewater boating as an extraordinary recreational value on 4 of 5 of the Mokelumne river segments found suitable for State Wild and Scenic designation.
Outstanding recreational resources are now protected on the Class V Devil’s Nose Run, the Class IV Tiger Creek Run, the Class III Ponderosa Run and the Class II Electra Run. Ultimately, Wild and Scenic designation is a windfall for all river lovers, permanently protecting the Mokelumne watershed from destructive new dams and diversions.