Smith River

River Roots Productions

It looks like craziness to the non-kayaker, but people DO paddle kayaks over waterfalls.  Though... generally not NIAGARA Falls. 

And yet a kayaker planned just such a suicide event, as documented by kayaker/filmmaker Rush Sturges in a movie called "Chasing Niagara."

Did we mention that taking vessels over Niagara Falls is illegal?  That's one of many revelations in the movie, showing at the Jefferson State Flixx Fest in Sturges' native Scott Valley (September 22-25). 

PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

The Smith River, California's only un-dammed river, is a jewel in the redwoods. 

It is also not exclusive to California; some of the Smith's headwaters lie in Oregon.  Which is why retired BLM resource specialist Gordon Lyford is asking the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to protect the headwaters of the river. 

The designation sought by Lyford and supported by the Smith River Alliance is "outstanding resource waters."  By law, DEQ is supposed to respond to the petition this week (May 22 deadline). 

PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

Plans to mine in the headwaters of some of the most pristine streams in the region could be short-circuited by a federal move to withdraw the areas in question from mining activities. 

Earlier this summer, the Bureau of Land Management published its intention to close off lands around tributaries of the Smith and other rivers in Curry and Del Norte Counties. 

The announcement triggered a comment period that closes soon, after a pair of public meetings. 

The Smith River Alliance supports the withdrawal proposal. 

PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

Southern Oregon and Northern California's Smith River could be temporarily protected from mining by a maneuver proposed by the Bureau of Land Management.

BLM plans to withdraw roughly 100,000 acres of public land from mining in Curry and Josephine Counties, including land considered for a major nickel mine.

CalTrans Brings Fish Scientists To The Smith

Jul 30, 2014
Graham Hughes/Wild California

Environmental groups complained about plans to widen California highway 197 and U.S. 199 along the Smith River, because the work could hurt fish. 

A judge agreed, and postponed the beginning of the work. 

Now CalTrans will consult with the federal fisheries agency, to assess the possible effects of the highway projects on salmon. 

Nixing Road Work Along The Sensitive Smith

May 14, 2014
Graham Hughes/Wild California

The Redwood Highway through California's Smith River canyon provides jaw-dropping scenic views.

And it's a bit of a bear to drive. 

So the state of California made plans to widen some of the tightest sections of the highway. 

Cue the controversy: those sections are tight because of the steepness of the canyon walls. 

Clinton Steeds via Wikipedia Commons

Recently, an independent review of California’s transportation department Caltrans concluded the agency is stuck in the past. Some activists say several Caltrans projects along the North Coast are examples of the need for reform.

Graham Hughes/Wild California

The California Department of Transportation--CalTrans--plans to widen portions of highways 197 and 199 in the Smith River Canyon in Del Norte County.

And them's fighting words for environmental groups, which are challenging the widening projects for their potential impacts on the Smith, one of the country's wild and scenic rivers.