Packraft Relate Bill in US Senate
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Bill in US Senate might open YNP and GTNP to packrafting on 03/07/2014 20:26:21 MST Print View

A bill to open rivers in Yellowstone and the Grand Teton to hand powered boats (i.e packrafts) went to the Senate. Interesting they have time for such a niche thing but its there. Here is the text of the bill

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s2018/text

Edited by Cameron on 03/07/2014 20:26:56 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Bill in US Senate might open YNP and GTNP to packrafting on 03/08/2014 08:43:40 MST Print View

A much more complicated state of affairs than it appears at first glance. I wrote a bit about it: http://bedrockandparadox.com/2014/03/05/the-river-paddling-protection-act/

In brief, it doesn't oblige the NPS to do anything other than consider new paddling rules in a hopefully substantive fashion, which so far as I can tell hasn't happened in decades.

Most of the debate around this has been quite sad. Lots of stereotyping and ad hominem attacks.

American Whitewater stopped active support in the Senate several weeks ago. It's unclear what that will mean.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Bill in US Senate might open YNP and GTNP to packrafting on 03/08/2014 09:04:17 MST Print View

drift ...

"Interesting they have time for such a niche thing but its there."

Congress doesn't "initiate". But it will find the time if pressure and dollars are applied.


(I added what "pressure" I could)


...end drift

Edited by greg23 on 03/08/2014 09:05:06 MST.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Packrafting in Yellowstone on 03/09/2014 08:28:49 MDT Print View

The Park superintendent is adamantly opposed to the bill and several local (Montana/Wyoming) conservation organizations have opposed it as well. The NPS I can understand - full plate already and no extra money for another activity - but the conservation organizations I cannot. Not the first time for that though.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Packrafting in Yellowstone on 03/20/2014 15:26:43 MDT Print View

Update - The bill passed the House and is on its way to the Senate. American Whitewater, which originally asked Rep. Lummis to propose the bill, has withdrawn its support. The following quotation from another Yellowstone-area non-profit is typical of what the conservation community is saying:

"Rep. Lummis’ legislation is not the right mechanism to address recreational use in our national parks. It is a blunt approach that fails to consider the recreational and natural values provided by waters in some of the world’s most popular and pristine places – Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and the National Elk Refuge.

Other issues with the bill:

* It only gives Yellowstone and Grand Teton three years to evaluate, study, and release a rule for use of approximately 7,500 miles of backcountry creeks and streams.

* The legislation fails to define “hand-propelled vessels”, potentially opening streams like the Lamar and Firehole rivers, for example, to commercial tubing.

* Allowing such access will make pristine Yellowstone and Grand Teton streams vulnerable to the invasive weeds and aquatic species that have taken over many parts of the West, threatening native vegetation and wildlife forage."