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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As you may have heard, there was a bill introduced in Congress that would require Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks to study the feasibility of allowing paddling on certain stretches of river. There is a three year time frame for the study, so no one will be launching their boats anytime soon.....I am wondering what people think of the possibility of dipping your paddle in that sacred water. Yellowstone + Paddling = Heaven OR Yellowstone + Paddling = Hell.
 

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Heaven - and is long over due. The Greater Yellowstone region is full of public lands that many including myself would consider sacred. Paddling on rivers running through these lands has not denigrated the resources, but rather increased the stewardship an awareness of how special they are. A few years ago the Snake River was designated as a Wild and Scenic through efforts of conservation minded paddlers. Sure Alpine Canyon seems a little crowded at times, but I'd imagine Yellowstone waters would be managed differently.

Hikers, horseback riders, fisherman, etc. already utilize the trails adjacent to Yellowstone rivers - why not the occasional paddler? Paddling is arguably the lowest impact activity of the previous mentioned. I've spent a lot of time in the Yellowstone backcountry and have been slightly annoyed by rank horse poop next to my campsite, noisy hikers, and tangled piles of fishing line left behind. I'm sure a brightly colored kayak will annoy some photographers, or boisterous paddlers floating by somebodies campsite will draw ire at times. Overall, I think it's one more great way to enjoy our National Parks; with 3 years for the park managers to study how to manage it I think it can coexist with other recreation and conservation efforts already in place. .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey Beater Boater- plenty of people have disregarded the regulations and done some epic trips. For me it is a bit of a buzz kill to know that if there is a ranger around the next bend, they are going to confiscate my gear and kick me out of the park. Some are willing to take the risk....

Wind River- I agree, I have floated many backcountry rivers in the Greater Yellowstone and have never seen where floaters have degraded natural resources. But will that change when the masses arrive in Yellowstone for their permitted floating adventure?
 

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While it would be great to have paddling in Yellowstone, it seems there was a recent similar bill that had paddling in Yellowstone but also included lots of environmentally disastrous things along with it. I don't remember the details but it was kind of like, "Hey we'll open up Yellowstone to paddlers, and also open up strip mining in Grand Teton Park!"

Does anyone know any details behind the bill the OP is talking about? Hopefully it's not something designed to pit one group of conservation/recreationalists against another, like the one I'm thinking of seemed to be.

As long as it doesn't come with nasty strings attached, that would be great.

-AH
 

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The bill Andy is referring to occurred because many proposed bills were rolled into a single bill. It put the Jellystone paddling proposal alongside massively expanding timber operations in currently protected areas and a few other things. The original bill was not drafted to include the other craziness but a congress bent on obstructionism killed the proposal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It seems like she introduced this bill exactly because of her record of pro-energy development. The passage of this bill could improve her image.....depending on how you feel about paddling in Yellowstone.

If we get a few 100 miles of paddling in exchange for her improving her image....seems like a pretty good trade-off to me. Supporting the bill doesn't make me a Republican.
 

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As long as they open the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I hope they don't just open it up for some class I and II scenic floats. There's good paddling to be had up there, but most aren't into risking loosing all their gear and a federal trespass to do it. If the bill doesn't get muddied with pork from other regions there is no good argument to oppose it. The impacts argument doesn't work for me. The impacts from motorized travel that is allowed will always exceed the impacts boaters may have, even with the occasional poor stewards that will leave a trace.
 

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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.

Thanks,

Aaron
 
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