The first season of legal paddling on portions of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River since 1976 is nearly upon us. The Forest Service will begin allowing paddling on December 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013, under various restrictions. This article will help you jump through all the hoops and enjoy the river!
Earlier today the US Forest Service released a Draft Environmental Assessment that proposes to continue denying the American public the simple right to float in canoes and kayaks down the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River for most or all of the year depending on the section of river. While successful in advancing some of the paddling community’s conservation goals, paddlers remain singled out for inequitable and harsh limits based solely on the Agency’s unfounded belief that user conflicts would occur if boating were allowed.
The Sumter National Forest announced today that the final decision on recreation uses on the upper Wild and Scenic Chattooga River is under internal review and will not be released this month as planned. The decision is now scheduled to be released "next year." It has been over 3.5 years since the highest office of the Forest Service ruled that the Upper Chattooga boating ban violates the Wilderness Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Like many paddlers, American Whitewater yesterday submitted comments on the Forest Service's environmental assessment (EA) of recreation on the Chattooga River. We would like to thank all the paddlers that filed comments in support of responsible management on the Chattooga. As a community we have daylighted a national treasure being mismanaged by a small group of people for a small group of people. AW remains committed to bringing responsible river management to the Chattooga on behalf of all backcountry recreationists.
Today the US Forest Service announced that they will grant the public another 2 weeks to submit comments on their "environmental assessment" of recreational use in the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River corridor. The new comment period ends August 18th.
AW has finished our initial review of the Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding recreation on
the Chattooga River and we will be filing detailed comments on the EA prior to the August 1st
deadline [extended to August 18th]. We encourage paddlers nationwide concerned with
river management and protection to submit comments. The proposed
management action on the Chattooga is a damaging and politically motivated precedent that would
impact rivers, managers, and recreationists across the country.
Today the United States Forest Service released their new proposal for management of the upper Chattooga River, and an environmental assessment of their alternatives. There will be a 30 day public comment period. The USFS proposes to essentially maintain their ban on boating while allowing other uses unlimited access - again without any basis whatsoever.
The USFS has announced another 6-month delay in deciding on a new plan for managing recreation on the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River. The announcement came in a certified letter to AW, in response to a letter AW sent the Chief of the USFS requesting an update and swift equitable resolution of this protracted issue.