The Chattooga River, which starts in the mountains around the Cashiers/Highlands area and flows south to form the border between Georgia and South Carolina, was designated a Wild and Scenic River in 1974. Two years later the United States Forest Service made a decision to prevent boating on the upper reached of the river, specifically about the Highway 28 Bridge. American Whitewater has been working for over ten years to reverse this ban which violates the Wilderness Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. AW's efforts gained traction after an appeal of the updated Resource Management plan which the Forest Service released in January of 2004.
American Whitewater's efforts are now focused on working with the Forest Service to conduct the User Capacity Analysis.
In response to American Whitewater's appeal of the Forest Service Mangaement Plan, the Chief of the Forest Service mandated that the Sumter National Forest conduct a User Capacity Analysis. The US Forest Service announced a deeply flawed plan for conducting this User Capacity Analysis for the Chattooga River at a meeting on July 27. Learn more about this plan.
American Whitewater filed suit on May 18th to restore the public’s ability to paddle the headwaters region of the 52-mile Wild and Scenic Chattooga River. The American Canoe Association, Georgia Canoeing Association, Atlanta Whitewater Club, Western Carolina Paddlers, and the Foothills Paddling Club, along with three individuals, are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
UPDATE: February 9, 2007: Yesterday, a group of river paddling organizations and individuals withdrew their appeal of a federal court decision involving canoeing and kayaking access on the Upper Chattooga Wild and Scenic River in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
American Whitewater's work on the Chattooga started over ten years ago, attempting to work with the Forest Service and other user groups to come to a simple resolution to the conflict. Click here to learn about the history of the Chattoga and AW's efforts.
Do you have a question or two about American Whitewater's efforts on the Chattooga River? Well we might have already answered it for you. Read AW's answers to some frequently asked questions.
American Whitewater outlines the groups involved in the process of evaluating paddling on the Chattooga Headwaters. Learn who is involved with the process and their roles.
American Whitewater's appeal of the Management Plan has generated much interest not only from user groups but also from media outlets accross the Southeast. Click here to read some of the stories in the press.
Take a look at why American Whitewater is working so hard to get an equal opportunity to enjoy the Upper Chattooga. Enjoy our photo galleries here.
A group calling themselves Friends of the Upper Chattooga recently wrote a letter formally requesting that Overflow Creek, a tributary to the Chattooga River, be immediately closed to boating by the USFS. The USFS denied the request, and American Whitewater followed up with adetailed analysis in support of the USFS position that Overflow is in fact open to paddlers. The request came from groups like the NC, SC, and GA chapters of Trout Unlimited and the Chattooga Conservancy.
American Whitewater’s work on the Chattooga River began over ten years ago and we are now in a position to overturn this illegal ban on boating. Our volunteers, pro-bono legal teams, staff, and membership are on the verge of protecting your rights to enjoy Wild and Scenic and Wilderness rivers across the country. If you are interested in supporting this effort AW invites you to join or support AW through a donation today. Your financial help will make this possible, and will help us protect your right to travel through wild places on wild rivers.