Rock Creek Access On NF Feather River Opened at Last! (CA)
The Rock Creek Bench river access site on the North Fork Feather River officially opened on June
13th, 2017 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which American Whitewater's Special Projects
Director Dave Steindorf attended. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) constructed the site as
part of a post FERC licensing agreement with American Whitewater and other members of a group
that oversees the implementation of the Rock Creek/Cresta FERC hydropower license (the Ecological
Resources Committee, or ERC). This access provides a huge safety improvement over how paddlers
have accessed the Rock Creek reach of the North Fork Feather River. For the past 16 years, during
the recreational releases negotiated by American Whitewater at the hydropower project, boaters
had to park in a small turnout and cross Highway 70 with their boats and then climb down the
steep bank to the river. Originally the site was planned to only to be open during the eight
whitewater boating release days that occur each summer. However, in a surprise announcement at
the ribbon-cutting event, PG&E said that the access will be open throughout the entire
recreation season. American Whitewater applauds this move by PG&E, which will improve river
access for anglers and other river recreationists.
The completion of this important river access is the last major goal for American Whitewater in restoring this section of the North Fork Feather River, which has become a nationally important whitewater resource. The best part about this access project is that the FERC license did not require that it be constructed. Instead, it was an exercise in creative problem solving by members of the ERC. Each of the entities involved in the negotiations that made this access become a reality moved beyond their own interests in order improve safety and provide access to the river for all recreationists. After 15 years of discussion, planning, and negotiating, this access site is testament to the collaboration between PG&E, American Whitewater, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the US Forest Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California State Water Resources Control Board and Plumas County.