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Public Comment Opportunity on Yellowstone Paddling

Posted: 12/20/2010
by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater and many conservation-oriented paddlers worked to designate several new Wild and Scenic Rivers in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in 2009. The Park Service must now define the values that they intend to protect and enhance in perpetuity, and must develop a river management plan for these rivers.  Part of that plan must be a Visitor Capacity Analysis that defines the numbers and types of appropriate uses on each river reach.  The Park Service is seeking your advice on the important values of the rivers and on the important elements of their plan.

Normally agencies managing Wild and Scenic Rivers have a wealth of data on river use and seek to protect and enhance the rivers’ enjoyment by kayakers, canoeists, and inflatable river craft.  Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are different.  They are two of the three National Parks that prohibit paddling on the vast majority of their superb rivers and streams.  Yosemite National Park, the other of the three, is currently considering paddling among the mix of uses on their Wild and Scenic rivers as they revise their river management plans. 

We encourage paddlers that care about these Wild and Scenic rivers and their ability to connect with them through kayaking, canoeing or rafting to file a comment.  Personal comments are best.  In general we recommend that paddlers respectfully ask the Park Service to:

  • Find that paddling on the newly designated Wild and Scenic Rivers is a value that should be protected and enhanced
  • Formally consider paddlers among the mix of appropriate visitors on each of the newly designated river reaches.
  • Study paddling opportunities with the same standards and metrics that are applied to other low impact forms of human-powered outdoor recreation.
  • Allow paddling to occur on all river reaches as the baseline of the analysis.
  • If necessary limit uses in a fair, equitable, nationally-consistent, respectful, and well-reasoned manner. 

American Whitewater looks forward to working with our regional partners and the National Park Service to create river management plans that are protective, responsible, and that respect all the appropriate ways that conservation-oriented Americans connect with their rivers and streams. 

Comments are due by December 31, 2010. 

For More Information click HERE.

Submit your comments HERE:

Associated Rivers

Buffalo Fork WY
Lower II
Gros Ventre WY
Lewis River WY
Canyon III-V
Pacific Creek WY
Lower II
Snake River WY
Snake River WY