American Whitewater Proposes Opening Yellowstone's Rivers to the Public

November 30, 1998 
Contact: Jason Robertson, Access Director,
301-589-9453 (office), 301-589-6121 (fax)

American Whitewater is a non-profit organization with more than 7,750
members and 180 local canoe club affiliates, representing approximately
80,000 whitewater paddlers nationwide. We are dedicated to conserving
and restoring America's whitewater resources and enhancing opportunities
to enjoy them safely.

American Whitewater submitted a proposal to the Park Service on
November 15, recommending that Yellowstone open four select river
segments for non-commercial whitewater recreation on a season-limited
basis. Our recommendation includes the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone,
as well as portions of the Gardner, Lamar, and Lewis Rivers.
American Whitewater's Access Director, Jason Robertson, noted that
Yellowstone "has over 400 miles of incredible rivers which are entirely
off-limits to the boating public; this is not consistent with National
Park Service policies, which are designed to promote human-powered
recreation such as kayaking and canoeing."

Yellowstone's rivers offer unique boating experiences in terms of
whitewater, skills development, wilderness challenges, and scenery that
are not available anywhere else. Opening the Black Canyon of the
Yellowstone for whitewater recreation is American Whitewater's highest
priority. Ron Lodders, a boater and contributor to the Western Rivers
guidebook, said that the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone, "may be the
premier multi-day whitewater run in any National Park in the United

Rich Bowers, Executive Director, emphasized that "the original
ban on river recreation was inherently flawed because it was implemented
to address, overfishing, rather than river voyaging and recreation.
There are better tools for managing anglers without banning boater
access to Yellowstone's rivers." American Whitewater is convinced that
the Park can manage whitewater boating while also protecting the
wildlife during particularly sensitive reproductive periods. Our
proposal addresses these issues.

Our selection of these river segments is based on: 1) their
unique value as whitewater resources to boaters of varying skill levels
and interests, 2) the Park's need to balance use and resource
protection, 3) the fact that whitewater recreation has no unique impacts
relative to other human-powered recreation, 4) and the ability of Park
personnel to manage the resource on a limited basis, with the ability to
open or close additional rivers in the future. 

Jason Robertson 
Access Director 301-589-9453
American Whitewater fax: 301-589-6121
1430 Fenwick Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20910


Kevin Lewis 
Regional Coordinator, American Whitewater 
Conservation Director, Shasta Paddlers 
Work (530) 221-8722 
Fax (530) 221-5981 

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Last updated December 30, 1998