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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Except for powerboat rules, most surveyed happy with river plan

Associated Press

LEWISTON – A yearlong survey of Snake River recreationists in Hells Canyon found that most people are happy with the U.S. Forest Service’s river management plan.

The survey, commissioned by the Forest Service and completed by University of Idaho researchers Ed Krumpe and Troy E. Hall, found that the biggest point of contention among visitors was a 21-day ban on powerboats enacted each summer in parts of the river.

The ban is only on the wild section of the river, and is intended to give rafters and other floaters time to experience the river without the noise and traffic of powerboats. The days are spread out, occurring Mondays through Wednesdays every other week.

Though 80 percent of commercial rafters and 60 percent of private rafters felt the ban added to their experience, roughly three-quarters of private powerboaters and 45 percent of commercial powerboaters disliked the ban.

“It’s one of the few things where you have that kind of difference show up, and it’s something most people were aware of,” said Krumpe.

Forest Service officials said they will study the more than 300-page report to see if the management plan should be changed. The plan took effect in 1998.

“We will be reviewing this report, looking through it and trying to see what it tells us,” said Wallowa Whitman National Forest supervisor Steve Ellis. “We will take a look and see if something stands out and basically use it to validate the plan.”

The recreation plan limits the number of powerboaters and rafters on some parts of the river during the busy summer season, and most recreationists liked that decision, saying they did not feel crowded on the river. Feelings were mixed about the removal of picnic tables and outhouses from river campsites.

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