Paddlers File Suit Against US Forest Service to Gain Access to Wild and Scenic Chattooga River

Conservation-oriented paddlers filed suit in October of 2009 to restore the public’s ability to paddle the headwaters of the 52-mile Wild and Scenic Chattooga River. The Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Atlanta Whitewater Club, Foothills Paddling Club, Georgia Canoeing Association, Western Carolina Paddlers, and three individuals. The kayakers and canoeists are being represented on a pro bono basis by the law firms of Patton Boggs, LLP, and Nelson Galbreath, LLC.

On December 2, 2010 United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs issued a partial decision regarding the management of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River, located in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The decision follows a hearing held in October. The decision denied the US Forest Service's motion to dismiss the case against them. The decision also denied a preliminary injunction request that would have granted paddlers the ability to float the Upper Chattooga immediately and throughout the judicial process. With conservation-oriented paddlers' case deemed ripe and valid for judicial review, that review will proceed to trial.