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Sultan River (WA) access closures in response to security concerns

Posted: 07/01/2002
by John Gangemi

On April 19, American Whitewater staff conducted a site visit to the Sultan River. Local boaters Andy Bridge, Product Designer at Werner Paddles and Tom O'Keefe, Streamkeeper extraordinaire, requested American Whitewater's assistance in solving access issues on the Lower Sultan and Upper Sultan. Gates restricting access to the lower have been closed on weekends and after 6 PM weekdays making this reach virtually off- limits for the 9 to 5 working boater. Access to the upper Sultan below Spada Lake is closed indefinitely. These closures are in direct response to security concerns in the aftermath of September 11th. American Whitewater recognizes the concern regarding public safety but also feels we need to strike a balance allowing access to public lands while maintaining security. Fencing ourselves off from our very own natural resources in the name of national security simply enables terrorists to win in the end. In the case of the Sultan River relocating gates could provide the needed security hydro facilities and public drinking water while simultaneously allowing public river access. Tom and Andy will be working closely with American Whitewater staff to solve this access issue. We welcome your support and assistance.

Tom O'Keefe, email:
Andy Bridge, email:
John Gangemi, email:

Associated Projects

Sultan River (WA)
AW is working to improve flows and public access for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and paddlers as part of hydropower relicensing on this river.