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Old 06-14-2011   #1
Pensacola, Florida
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6
Whitewater Permit?

I'm getting into the sport of whitewater kayaking and my friend mentioned something about needing a permit to paddle on certain rivers. Is this true? If so, how would I go about getting a permit? Thanks.

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Old 06-14-2011   #2
openboat's Avatar
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 227
Where are you going to paddle? Florida is a long way from whitewater that isn't ocean surf. Most rivers in the US are open to private boaters. Only the few on federal land with very heavy pressure seem to have a permit system. I can't think of any in Colorado, though, there may be a few.

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Old 06-14-2011   #3
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,906
Welcome to whitewater boating!

There are certain very popular rivers that require permits from the managing agencies. There is also a misconception outside the boating world that you have to have a permit to run any whitewater or scenic river. The process to obtain permits can range from signing a registry at the put-in to applying for a lottery far in advance, paying fees, and keeping your fingers crossed that you'll be among the 5% of applicants granted a permit.

You can find out about the rivers you hope to run from American Whitewater's Permit Information Webpage. Another good source of information is the Rivergeek permits webpage where you can find out about permits required for many Western rivers.

Usually there's information in guidebooks as to whether you need a permit for a particular stretch of river, with info on how to get them.

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 06-14-2011   #4
Pensacola, Florida
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6
Thank you for the information. I was planning on going on the Nantahala and Ocoee River.
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Old 06-14-2011   #5
Bugtussle, Kentucky
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 161
no permit needed. although if I recall you have to get a Forest Service tag for $1 if you run the Nanty. Pick it up at the NOC. No permit needed for the Ocoee, or most of the rivers in the southeast for that matter.
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