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Water management changes could affect Snake River
Whitewater rafting on the Snake River is a popular tourist pastime. File photo

Water management policy changes could affect rec access along Snake River

Jun 5, 2013 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Three federal agencies are concluding meetings Wednesday on proposed changes to how they manage the Snake River headwaters and the river's upper tributaries, plans that would close some roads and boater access points while improving other riverside facilities in Grand Teton National Park.

The changes result from the Craig Thomas Snake Headwaters Legacy Act of 2008, which protects 388 miles of the Snake headwaters and the river's headwater tributaries in western Wyoming as officially designated wild and scenic rivers.

The U.S. Forest Service has been preparing to implement the act on the portions of the Snake River and its tributaries that flow through Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been working on their own plan for managing the Snake headwaters and tributaries in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the National Elk Refuge.

Meetings on the two plans will be Tuesday at Moran Elementary School in Moran and Wednesday at the Teton County Public Library in Jackson. Both meetings will be 4-7 p.m.

President Barack Obama signed the Snake River headwaters act into law in 2009.

The act protects the Snake headwaters for its "outstandingly remarkable" attributes including its scenery, recreational value and ecological role. The rivers are prime habitat for Yellowstone and Snake River cutthroat trout and significant populations of leatherside chub, bluehead sucker and western pearlshell mussel, according to the Park Service/Fish and Wildlife management plan.

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