Open House for Snake River Headwaters Comprehensive Management Planning

Ansel Adams' photo Tetons and the Snake River (1942)

November 22, 2010
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will co-host an open house on Tuesday evening, November 30 from 5–7 p.m. at Snow King Resort to gather public input regarding concurrent planning initiatives by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service for managing the newly designated Wild and Scenic Snake River Headwaters. The open house will include a presentation about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and a discussion about planning efforts being launched by the federal agencies as a result of the recent designation. The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service will develop separate, but concurrent, management plans for river segments located with their respective administrative boundaries.

On March 30, 2009, President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act that amended the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to add approximately 388 miles of the Snake River and its tributary rivers and streams to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The National Park Service administers 121 miles of designated river segments, while remaining areas lie within the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Passage of this landmark legislation reflects the leadership and collaborative approach of the late Senator Craig Thomas who worked for five years with groups of outfitters, conservationists, business owners, sportsmen and other river users to protect the Snake River’s headwaters. This historic river protection legislation was renamed and passed as the Craig Thomas Snake Headwaters Legacy Act of 2009 in his honor.

As required by the Craig Thomas Snake Headwaters Legacy Act, the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service planning efforts will:

·    Document the Snake River Headwaters’ boundaries and river segment classifications (wild, scenic or recreational).
·    Provide for protection of the free-flowing condition of the Snake River Headwaters in keeping with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
·    Describe the “outstandingly remarkable values” which provide the unique, rare or exemplary characteristics that make the Snake River Headwaters eligible for inclusion in the system.
·    Establish a management program that protects the outstandingly remarkable values, free flowing condition, and water quality of the river system.
·    Address user capacity and establish the kinds and amounts of appropriate visitor use.

The designation of the Snake River Headwaters is atypical because it encompasses an entire watershed involving 13 rivers and 25 separate river segments, totaling 388 river miles. This watershed spans areas managed by the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and a portion of state and private lands. Due to the sheer size of this designation, a collaborative planning effort is vital. Members of the public are highly encouraged to join in this first step towards development of the two comprehensive river management plans.

A public meeting is also scheduled in Bozeman, Montana, on December 2, 2010 from 5–7 p.m. in the Public Library at 626 E. Main Street. This session will focus on planning efforts for river segments located within Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.

For additional information about the Snake River Headwaters planning, please visit online at