Paddling sports bill passes U.S. House - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-07-2014   #1
 
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Paddling sports bill passes U.S. House (Yellowstone)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that allows paddling sports in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the National Elk Refuge.

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, said its sponsor, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming. She is sponsoring the bill with Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.

H.R. 3492, the River Paddling Protection Act, removes current prohibitions on paddling sports and allow people to negotiate with park superintendents and elk refuge officials on specific times, sections of rivers and frequency of paddling, Lummis said.

Lummis said paddle sports practitioners include kayakers, canoeists and rowboaters. She worked on the bill with Rendezvous River Sports/Jackson Hole Kayak School, American Whitewater and the American Packrafting Association, said Lummis’ spokesman, Joe Spiering.

The U.S. Department of Interior, which oversees the parks, opposes the bill. The National Parks Conservation Association is concerned that it will draw more people into remote sections of the park.

Paddling sports bill passes U.S. House

Text - H.R.3492 - 113th Congress (2013-2014): River Paddling Protection Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

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Old 02-07-2014   #2
 
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Originally Posted by hojo View Post

The U.S. Department of Interior, which oversees the parks, opposes the bill. The National Parks Conservation Association is concerned that it will draw more people into remote sections of the park.
This is rich, concern the public may actually want to visit and use the national resource we all own and pay taxes to support...
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Old 02-07-2014   #3
 
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This is the primary reason I am against any new wilderness bills. They just make it harder for people to get out and see our beautiful country. The land has remained pristine and beautiful without government intervention, why start now?

With that said, I also understand high traffic areas need management, and I have no issues paying a permit fee for access.
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Old 02-07-2014   #4
 
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Such boating is entertainment for humans; these places are about survival for other species. Regardles of who "owns" the parks, they do have a mission which is about balancing use and preservation.
Just sayin'...

In any case, it sounds like the bill might allow for such balancing; it apparently does not say "free-for-all." It does prevent the park service from dismissing more boating out of hand by saying "we can't allow."
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Old 02-07-2014   #5
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On the one hand this country has not stayed pristine and beautiful without government intervention. On the other hand paddling is legitimately super low impact and the park will still have all the power to refuse or manage paddling as they see fit. This just removes a hurdle to the park managing it's resources rather than an outdated law.
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Old 02-07-2014   #6
 
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Great news!
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Old 02-07-2014   #7
 
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Originally Posted by glenn View Post
On the one hand this country has not stayed pristine and beautiful without government intervention. On the other hand paddling is legitimately super low impact and the park will still have all the power to refuse or manage paddling as they see fit. This just removes a hurdle to the park managing it's resources rather than an outdated law.
Agreed, many of our places and resources saw immense degradation before modern forms of management. I think we are seeing a generation of recreators that did not see that damage first hand or ignorant of that factual history. And by no means do I believe these agencies are immune from mistakes. Just look at the history of Yellowstone to see how they contributed to the problems through poor policy. That said we seem to be better stewards in general now. That includes most agencies and user groups (there are exceptions in every class).

One would hope we could create a manageable solution that preserves certain characteristics while also allowing for low-impact recreation. But I think we would be remiss to ignore our own stakeholder groups historic misuses (fecal contamination, campsite degradation, social trail development, etc). This seems like a step in the right direction for ending all-out closures of resources.

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Old 02-07-2014   #8
 
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Unfortunately this is unlikely to get out of the Senate because it is tied to a bill that expands grazing rights on public lands and another bill that allows logging within Yosemite National Park, two things to which I am opposed. The river paddling protection act needs a democratic co-sponsor in the Senate (I expect that Senator Barrasso will be introducing it soon) and to be separated from these two other bills. Now would be a great time to call your Senator, especially if he/she is a democrat.
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Old 02-07-2014   #9
 
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I would not count our chickens yet. It would be nice if it passed, but we shall see. At least there is an attempt to make it happen, so hopefully a clean bill, just on Yellowstone will pass. I, for one, would love to go and do some multi day, self support trips in there. There is so many possibilities and tons of white water up there.
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Old 02-07-2014   #10
 
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I would not count our chickens yet. It would be nice if it passed, but we shall see. At least there is an attempt to make it happen, so hopefully a clean bill, just on Yellowstone will pass. I, for one, would love to go and do some multi day, self support trips in there. There is so many possibilities and tons of white water up there.
Don't know who is heading this but contacting canyoneers and pack rafters could aid a clean bill getting through. Both user groups have been hit by these closures (at least in Yellowstone).

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