In October, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resource Committee passed a controversial bill, H.R.974, the so called “Paddling in the Parks” bill, that would force the National Park Service to open hundreds of miles of sensitive rivers and streams in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks to boating. If enacted, your next trip to fish or view wildlife along Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek, the Firehole, Gallatin, Gardiner or Yellowstone rivers could include flotillas of drift boats, kayaks, and rafts.
Proponents of the bill, a small group of packrafters from Wyoming, claim this measure does not take away the discretion of the National Park Service. They are wrong. The bill specifically directs the Secretary of the Interior to “promulgate regulations to allow the use of hand-propelled vessels…” This measure will tie the hands of park managers and lead to significant user conflicts, more unsanctioned trails in the backcountry and fewer places of refuge for Yellowstone’s iconic wildlife.
At a time when the park’s budget is already inadequate in addressing issues effecting visitor experience and safety, crumbling infrastructure, search & rescue, aquatic invasive species and existing recreational uses, adding an activity that puts more people in sensitive wildlife habitats and will require entirely new management expenses is a bad deal for the park and an unwise use of taxpayer dollars.
Join us in telling Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis to drop this damaging and short-sighted legislation.
Contact Rep. Lummis’s Chief of Staff, Landon Stopko, at: