Managing Recreation Uses in the Upper Segment of the Chattooga River Corridor

In April 2005, the Washington Office of the USDA Forest Service issued a decision on an appeal by American Whitewater of the Sumter National Forest’s Revised Land and Resource Management Plan (forest plan). The forest plan, issued in January 2004, continued a restriction on boating in the upper reaches of the Chattooga River (approximately 20 miles of the total of 57 miles) that has been in place since 1976. In its appeal, American Whitewater was concerned that boating was unfairly excluded and stated that the Forest Plan should be changed to allow "year-round access for self-guided groups of non-commercial, non-motorized canoeists and kayakers" to float the river. 

The decision on the appeal issued by the Washington Office did not change the management of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River but directed the Southern Regional Office and the Sumter National Forest to do additional work, specifically to conduct an appropriate visitor use capacity analysis to collect information for reassessing the decision and to involve affected and interested parties. Links to the documents associated with the capacity analysis are available below.

In August 2009, the forest supervisors of the Sumter, Chattahoochee and Nantahala national forests identified Alternative 4 of the Upper Chattooga Environmental Assessment (EA) as the agency's decisions for the management of recreation uses for the upper Chattooga River. The decisions, which emphasized year-round high-quality trout fishing while providing boating opportunities on the main stem upper Chattooga River,  were withdrawn on December 21, 2009 to allow for additional analysis. As a result, the status quo is preserved on the river (meaning no boating is allowed above the Highway 28 bridge) until the forests issue three new decisions.

On January 31, the forest supervisors of the Sumter, Chattahoochee and Nantahala national forests issued decisions notices and findings of no significant impacts regarding management of recreation uses in the upper segment of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River Corridor (see Update Jan. 31, 2012: Final Decisions). 

Upper Chattooga Implementation Public Meetings

Chattooga River Boating Access EA

Chattooga River Boating Access Proposal

Washington Office Decides not to Complete Discretionary Review

Regional Office Submits Records for Discretionary Review

Comments to the Chief of the Forest Service

Reviewing Officer's Decision on Six Forest Plan Amendment Appeals

USFS Grants Greenfire Law Stay Request (March 27, 2012)

Appeals and Stay Requests (updated April 17, 2012)

Final USFS Decisions (updated Feb. 12, 2012)

South Carolina Documents
Georgia Documents
North Carolina Documents

Public Comments on the July, 2011 EA (updated Sept. 6, 2011) 

Update August 5, 2011

Update August 1, 2011

Background Documents and Information