A snippet or two

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 08:11:58 02/19/15

In Reply to: No paddling please!!!! posted by Rob (Hiker)

Good discussion!

Here's a few random thoughts that popped into my skull:

1.) I know a few folks that actually ran the Yellowstone River years ago, from somewhere downstream of the Lower Falls. I've hiked the trails that parallel the river from a ways above the Tower area pretty much all the way to Gardiner. For the hard core whitewater enthusiasts, there are some world-class sections. As a former whitewater kayaker, I know I have drooled more than once at the thought of traversing some of those areas. (I never perfected my eskimo roll, so I would have to avoid the really hairy stuff.) Actually, with limited traffic, and not a lot of crucial wildlife resource resident in those canyons, resource damage would be minimal. Two obvious issues would be that inevitably, there would be some who would get in trouble down there, which would require rescue from already stretched thin ranger resources; and this element of a solution would only appeal to a select minority of visitors, but, ironically, the most vocal visitors in support of this legislation.

2.) I'm sure that potential concessioners are salivating at the prospect of being able to offer raft trips on some of the more tame rivers. I get a mental image of a long string of bright yellow or orange rafts floating the Madison, along with a bunch of solo floaters in tubes. This would anger some fly fishermen.

3.) There are some access issues, if the NPS were ever to open some of the better whitewater to floating/riding. It is likely that you would not be able to access the Yellowstone River below the Lower Falls until Tower or Roosevelt. Contemplate how you would manage access to the Lewis River. (I've not heard of anyone having done a "midnight run" on that river, but it would be really hairy.)

4.) There is one issue I have not seen any chatter on, and that is viewshed issues. I hear Dave's complaints about hikers leaving scars on the land, but horses and bison are higher impact. That said, I have to say that seeing hikers on the Howard Eaton trail across the river in Hayden Valley is kind of a spoilation of the viewshed (even though I have done that trail a bunch of times).


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