Outdoors blog

River rafters have to be cool with rejection

Rafting the Selway River in Idaho requires considerable skill, wilderness self-sufficiency and advance planning to get one of the limited number of permits offered in a lottery drawing. RICH LANDERS  (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Rafting the Selway River in Idaho requires considerable skill, wilderness self-sufficiency and advance planning to get one of the limited number of permits offered in a lottery drawing. RICH LANDERS (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

RIVERS -- My group of river-running hopefuls are feeling left out after all of us received "unsuccessful" notices from the annual lottery for summer floating permits on Salmon River through Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness.

The Forest Service permits for the Salmon, Middle Fork, Selway and Hells Canyon of the Snake are highly prized. Although it's disappointing not to draw a permit, nobody would want to go back to the chaos and degradation these most-popular rivers would suffer without regulation and daily group quotas. 

Here's the observation from another unlucky permit applicant from the Northwest Whitewater group:

For those of us who put in for the 4 Rivers Lottery & got skunked once again, I weep with you...
 
For what it's worth, the reason we don't score lottery launch dates isn't bad luck or poor karma. In the case of the Middle Fork, for example, those of us who never draw are victims of the immutable statistical fact that we are among nearly 10,000 applicants each year competing for each season's only 387 available launch permits.
 
[How to even the odds: talk all your boating buds into NOT putting in for permits anymore 'cause it's pointless (LOL)].



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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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