On March 30, 2009 President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009 which included the Snake Headwaters Legacy Act that was originally introduced by Senator Craig Thomas. This milestone realized the goal of the Snake Headwaters Campaign to permanently protect the most pristine rivers and streams in northwest Wyoming’s Snake River drainage by including them in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The campaign included anglers, hunters, guides, outfitters, landowners, business owners, and conservationists who shared a common goal of leaving a legacy of healthy rivers and unsurpassed recreational opportunities for future generations to enjoy.
The newly-designated Snake River begins at its source in Yellowstone National Park, through Grand Teton National Park, through Alpine Canyon in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and ends at Palisades Reservoir. Along the way major tributaries including the Buffalo Fork, Gros Ventre, Hoback, and Greys River are included along with a number of smaller tributaries representing a unique watershed approach to Wild and Scenic designation. Well over 100,000 visitors come to the area each year to boat the Snake River and its tributaries which include some of the nation's most outstanding whitewater resources.
The designation of new Wild and Scenic Rivers triggered a management planning process in the National Parks and Refuge, as well as the Forest Service. American Whitewater has fully participated in these planning processes, especially as they relate to rivers in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks where paddling rivers is prohibited. We filed detailed comments on the draft management plans in 2013, which excluded allowing paddling on Park rivers from the analysis.