In the midst of the controversial paddling ban and capacity consideration on the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River, the Forest Service is proposing to jointly develop a “farmstead” on the banks of the disputed section of river with a private non-profit partner organization.
The farmstead would be managed by the private organization which would be granted authority to charge the public fees for visiting the farmstead portion of the Wild and Scenic corridor. The farmstead would be comprised of several historic buildings restored on-site, several historic buildings moved from elsewhere, construction of several new buildings including a gift shop and a care-taker’s residence for the private operator. Streamside buffers would be narrowed from 100 feet to 40 feet to allow agricultural clearing and livestock corralling and grazing. New parking will be constructed for 30 vehicles, and during anticipated festivals and events the private operator will run shuttles from a nearby existing paddler/angler parking lot to the farmstead. Visitors to the farmstead will be blocked from visiting the river (and vice-versa) by direct means and regulations.
This proposed new use of the Wild and Scenic River Corridor, in a reach heavily stocked with non-native trout and deemed to have zero capacity to support floating, is raising eyebrows and drawing comments from many Chattooga River stakeholders. American Whitewater filed comments on the proposal, which can be downloaded from the Document box to the right of this article.
AW comments do not oppose the farmstead concept, but object to the project being sited on the banks of the Chattooga River, and object to considering the addition of large numbers of visitors while the ongoing visitor capacity analysis remains unfinished. In addition, we find it unquestionably biased that the Forest Service believes they should support a historical theme park to attract visitors in the same reach where they claim there is zero capacity to support paddling.
You can read a recent news article about the Farmstead here.
AW comments on a US Forest Service proposal to support the construction of a private "farmstead" on the banks of the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga.