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Old 08-07-2008   #1
Dolores, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 49
USFS Considers Banning Boating in all Federally Managed Lands!

This was posted today on the Rafting Grand Canyon yahoo forum by
"lochsa89" gem332@yahoo.com
It certainly caught my attention and I thought it worth reposting here. I have not had a chance to review all the links attached in this message, but if the author of this post is even close to accurate this is something worth paying attention to.

Happy free flowing boating to you all

Whether you know it or not, on August 18th the Forest Service will
establish a precedent that can lead to the banning and/or severely
restricting boating in all Federally Managed lands. Yes, your
favorite rivers and creeks that are Wild and Scenic Rivers; Federal
Wilderness; or in National Parks and recreation areas may soon be off
limits to all boating.

What's going on? Whitewater boating was banned on the upper sections
of the Chattooga River 30-years ago by a single rouge park ranger,
without public comment or impact studies. He simply waived his hand,
and it was so. Now 30-years later, politically powerful special
interest groups, with significant pull in Congress and the Forest
Service are fighting to maintain this boating ban, which should never
have been established in the first place.

How does this affect you? The Upper Chattooga "Capacity and Conflict"
study, commissioned by the Forest Service, outlines rationale and
management practices for severely restricting or banning boating on
federal lands. The report is well footnoted with dozens of studies
and management techniques from across the nation. If things that
happen in the north, south, east and west can be used to continue the
boating ban on the upper sections of the Chattooga River, they can be
used against you and your rivers. You can check out the "Capacity and
Conflict" study and its array of footnotes here:

http://www.fs. fed.us/r8/ fms/forest/ projects/ 20070608- Chattooga% 20%20Integrated% 20Report% 20final.pdf

Imagine a day when the Forest Service closes your favorite run and
says, "They did it on the Upper Chattooga, we can do it here." There
will be no impact studies. Public comments won't matter. Political
pull or a single rouge park ranger is all it will take. The precedent
will have already been set on the Upper Chattooga.

How can you help stop this? The deadline to send in comments to the
Forest Service is August 18th. If you are too busy to learn all the
details and craft the perfect comment letter, there is a link to a
well thought out form letter below. Simply add a few personal touches
and e-mail it to the Forest Service, the Chief of the Forest Service,
and your Senator and Congressman. Its simple, all of their e-mails
are also listed below. Let them all know you are against bans on any
user group, in federally managed lands, without proper justifications
and impact studies. Remember, the river you save could be your own.

A form letter:

http://www.american whitewater. org/content/ Article_view_ articleid_ 30112_display_full_

For detailed facts on the Upper Chattooga boat banning check out
these sites:

http://www.american whitewater. org/content/ Project_view_ id_chattooga_

http://www.american whitewater. org/content/ Wiki/do-
op/id/aw:chattooga_ faq

http://www.american whitewater. org/content/ Article_view_ articleid_ 30112
http://www.fs. fed.us/r8/ fms

E-mail your letter, by August 18th, to the Sumter National Forest at:

comments-southern- francismarion- sumter@fs. fed.us

E-mail the Chief of the Forest Service in DC at:

akimbell@fs. fed.us

Ask your Senator and Congressman to write a letter condemning this
unjustified boating ban.

Find your Congressman at: http://www.house. gov/

Find Your Senator at: http://www.senate. gov/

Help your boating brothers in the Southeast stop this unjustified ban
before you have to fight it in your own backyard.

Thank you

--Rob Maxwell

Atlanta, GA

doloresgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008   #2
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,910
The extrapolation of the Chattooga situation to all federally managed rivers seems a bit dubious and alarmist. Going into any public comment without a good grasp of the facts and implications will probably not help your cause.

Could someone please check the AW website to see if they're making similar claims? If so, then I'll take the above message seriously.


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 08-07-2008   #3
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Save the fear mongering for the media

Yes, it is one thing to try to rally support to fight against a cause. It is another to participate in fear-mongering. That's a bit disappointing in my book, on AW.
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Old 08-07-2008   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
This didn't come from AW, it came from Rob Maxwell, a boater from the southeast who is very active in the chattooga fight. I agree that the subject line is way over the top. Rob's message simply states that if the ban is implemented on the chatooga it could be used as a precedent on other federally managed rivers. I agree with that. Its a bad precedent if it goes the wrong way.
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Old 08-07-2008   #5
Dolores, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 49

Yeah, I thought this worth posting, but I have a hard time seeing how decisions made by the FS/USDA set policy for all federal agencies, except perhaps by precident (fyi I am a DOI employee, but my views are not that of "the man" etc). The fact that American Whitewater was listed gave this a bit more credibility in my eyes, but I do agree. We do live in a fear based society in these times, and it is easy to get caught up in fear, and fear serves no one. I guess I saw/see posting this as better safe then sorry and maybe there are some SE boaters out there who will be impacted by these decisions regardless of the potential further reaching implications.

BTW, the subject line was also copied verbatim from Maxwell's post on the Rafting Grand Canyon forum.

Anyway....back to your usually scheduled boating...

Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
Yes, it is one thing to try to rally support to fight against a cause. It is another to participate in fear-mongering. That's a bit disappointing in my book, on AW.
doloresgirl is offline   Reply With Quote

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