Yellowstone & Grand Teton Paddling Bill
CALLING ALL BOATERS! your voices need to be heard now. The Yellowstone Grand Teton Paddling Act was introduced on 2/13/15 and needs your support. Here are some key points.
· The new bill is the product of working with NPS and listening to concerns of other stakeholders. It will authorize a study of rivers in Yellowstone and Grand Teton and this study will hopefully allow appropriate rivers and creeks to be open to paddling.
· River Running ban is 65 years old, was enacted to prevent overfishing, needs a review, and is an anomaly in the National Park Service. How many different uses have been allowed in the National Parks in the past 65 years? Paddling is a traditional use and the world class rivers of these parks deserve reconsideration with a science based study.
· River Corridors will benefit from this study – as they already receive use from fisherman, hikers & horse packers. The Park Service needs baseline data on invasive species, condition of river banks due to social trails, etc. This bill will help make this happen.
· Paddlers are focusing on a small percentage of rivers and streams in both parks - about 5% or approximately 480 miles out of over 7,500 stream miles. The study would not begin until it received funding. Rep. Lummis has pledged to get funding.
· Paddling is managed carefully in every other National Park that has a river resource and in pristine wilderness areas. As paddlers we all know this but the majority of the public is not aware how tightly regulated our most treasured rivers are (Grand Canyon, Selway, Middle Fork, etc.) Rivers Flowing through sensitive areas have been managed for paddling for years without ill effects. The Park Service has the tools and mechanisms in place to do this. In addition, the paddling community is not asking for additional infrastructure. Parking areas, access trails, restroom facilities already exist to accommodate other users of the river corridors.
We need your voices heard now. Opponents of this bill are busy spreading misinformation and have no respect for facts or science. Please write letters to the editor of your local or regional paper using the bullet points above, comment on web postings you have seen - Canoe & Kayak and others. Write your member of Congress. The time is now -we can make this happen. They just did it in Yosemite - we can do it in Yellowstone. Boaters and the parks will benefit.