Upper White Salmon Wild & Scenic
The Upper White Salmon Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was signed into law August 2, 2005 (Public Law 109-44, 109 th Congress) designating 20 miles of river segments of the main stem of the White Salmon River and Cascade Creek as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The designated river is within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and is managed by the Trout Lake Ranger District. The district recently began a planning process to produce a management plan for the designated river. District planners held a listening session at the White Salmon Library on April 28. The planning process was explained and input taken on how the more than 50 participants would like the river to be managed. Forest Service specialists will take this feedback and develop a draft plan. Later this summer they will send out a “scoping” letter to appropriate agencies and participants from the listening session. There will be a period when the Forest Service will take responses to the draft plan and a final plan prepared by the end of the year. The Act designating this section of the river identified scenery, geology, and hydrology as outstandingly remarkable values to be protected. The Friends of the White Salmon River (FWSR) feel wildlife habitat, recreation and water quality are important values deserving special protection as well. Issues that need to be addressed in the planning process include:
- The Wild and Scenic River boundary. The Wild and Scenic Act calls for a boundary averaging one-fourth mile on each side of the river. The managing agency has the authority to vary the boundary to include important values outside of the one-fourth mile line as long as the total acreage does not exceed the total for a boundary of one-fourth mile on each side of the centerline of the river. The FWSR feel there are opportunities to adjust the boundary to include important values outside of the one-fourth mile lines.
- Woody debris. FWSR believe it is important to retain the existing woody debris in the river and to allow additional natural accumulations for water quality purposes and fisheries habitat.
- Roads. New road construction should be prohibited within the Wild and Scenic River boundary and existing roads decommissioned, when possible.
- Vegetative management should be limited to proven practices designed to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Emphasis should be to increase habitat for cavity nesting birds and T&E species.
- Cattle grazing. While this is not a current issue, cattle grazing should be prohibited in the management plan so it does not become an issue in the future. FWSR will post the scoping letter on this web site when it is available and persons interested in the upper river are encouraged send a response to the Forest Service with their views on management of this portion of the White Salmon Wild and Scenic River.