United States Fourth Circuit

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American Whitewater v. Tidwell, 13-1960

In this case, plaintiff and two intervening parties challenge the revised plan of the United States Forest Service to allow limited rafting or "floating" on the Headwaters of the Chattooga River during the winter months, plaintiff argues against any limits on floating, whereas the intervening parties argue against Headwaters floating. Judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed, where: 1) the Forest Service has provided a cogent justification for the remaining limits on Headwaters floating, supported by the record, and that is sufficient to overcome the arbitrary and capricious challenge; 2) floating is itself a "public use" of the recreational value of the river (the ORV), not an "other use" subject to the substantial interference standard of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act; and 3) the heightened risk of trespass due to floaters is so speculative that no National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis is required.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 11/05/2014
  • Published 11/05/2014


  • Harris


  • United States Fourth Circuit


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