After a considerable delay of over 2 years, US Forest Service officials announced a final decision on managing recreation uses on the upper Chattooga River and released the Final Environmental Assessment (EA). A briefing paper and news release were also made available. While the new management plan falls short of our requests for Headwaters access, it does open the door to a small amount of legal boating on a small section of the upper river starting in December 2009, flow levels permitting. The decision also places some limited restrictions on other river users regarding group size and camping locations.
During a press briefing, the acting Sumter Forest Supervisor, Monica Schwalbach, stated that the US Forest Service has determined that boating on the upper Chattooga -- even in unlimited numbers -- "would have no impact on the resource." American Whitewater staff and volunteers are reviewing documents released today and will be posting additional information over the next few weeks.
AW owes a huge shout-out to the volunteers that have worked on the project. without their support, time and energy we would never have gotten this far. The key volunteers on the Chattooga Team are; Don Kinser, Charleen Coleman, Brian Jacobson, Nathan Galberth and John Austin to name a few.