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Help California Whitewater Rivers Gain Wild and Scenic Designation!

Posted: 02/13/2002
By: John Gangemi
The Downie River, and its major tributaries including Rattlesnake Creek, Lavezzola Creek, Empire Creek, Red Oak Canyon, Pauley Creek, and Butcher Ranch Creek flow into the North Yuba River near Downieville. These outstanding natural streams are proposed for designation as a federal Wild and Scenic River. Your support is critical to help ensure their designation!

The Downie River System - An Outdoor Paradise & Biking/Hiking: The extensive trail system surrounding these rivers is popular with hikers, backpackers, anglers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. Trails along Pauley and Lavezzola creeks provide the route for the Coyote Classic, one of the largest mountain bike events in the country.

Boating: The area provides spectacular and challenging whitewater runs on Lavezzola Creek and Pauley Creek. The run on Lavezzola Creek is technical, scenic, and mostly class IV. Pauley Creek is a popular class III-IV run famous for its waterfalls, ranging from 15 - 22 feet high. Check out Pauley Creek on American Whitewater's streamkeeper page

Fishing: Lavezzola and Pauley Creeks and the Downie River also support excellent cold water trout fisheries. In fact, Lavezzola Creek is a state designated Wild Trout stream.

Ecological Values: The stream canyons support the largest block of Ancient mixed coniferous forest in the northern Sierra, providing extensive high quality habitat for California spotted owl, pine martin, fisher, and wolverine. Other species in the area include bald eagle, golden eagle, Northern goshawk, pileated woodpecker, Sierra red fox, and foothill yellow-legged frog. The volcanic soils of the area support outstanding wildflower displays.

The Downie River, Rattlesnake Creek, Empire Creek, Lavezzola Creek, and Pauley Creek have been determined eligible for Wild & Scenic River status by the Forest Service in recognition of their outstanding ecological, recreational, historical/cultural, and hydrological values.

Designation is critical to permanently maintain the vast existing recreational activities on these public lands, including boating and mountain bike use. The designation would ensure the protection of these values by restricting development activities such as new dams, road building, and logging within an average of 1/4 mile of the streams. Designation would not affect private land use or property rights.

To support this effort, write your letter TODAY to California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

Key points to include in your letter requesting Wild and Scenic Designation:

· Downie River, Rattlesnake Creek, Lavezzola Creek, Empire Creek, Red Oak Canyon, Pauley Creek, and Butcher Ranch Creek should be included in the statewide Wilderness Area and Wild and Scenic Rivers bill.

· That these rivers are very important to you for their recreational, cultural, ecological, and scenic values.

Send your letters to:
Senator Barbara Boxer
1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 403-0100
Fax: (415) 956-6701

Senator Dianne Feinstein
One Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone :(415) 393-0707
Fax: (415) 393-0710

Sample letter Format


The Honorable [Full Name]
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

RE: Wild and Scenic Designation for the Downie River and tributaries

Dear Senator [last name]:

For more information, please contact: Tina Andolina at the California Wilderness Coalition at (530)758-0380 or

American Whitewater is a member of the California Wilderness Coalition.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!