Snake motorboat use to have public review
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: March 21, 2013
Motorized watercraft regulations on the Snake River will be discussed at a meeting set by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Motorboats on the big river are now prohibited in Grand Teton National Park, but allowed south of the park to the West Table Boat Ramp in the Snake River canyon.
No proposal will be rolled out at the meeting, to be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Game and Fish office on North Cache, fisheries biologist Rob Gipson said.
“The meeting is to discuss what folks would like to see,” Gipson said. “We’ve been getting calls from both sides — people who want motorized use restricted and people who are in favor of it. This is to bring both sides to the same table.”
In the stretch of the Snake up for discussion — most easily accessed on the north end at the Wilson boat ramp — boats with motors are rare, Gipson said.
“The vast majority of the watercraft are definitely rafts and drift boats,” he said.
Because the river is often shallow and rocky, jetboats with “inpellers,” which don’t have traditional props that hang low, are sometimes used on the Snake.
On other rivers in the area, such as the Hoback, motorized boats generally are allowed.
Restrictions on motorized boats in the Snake River Canyon were developed in the early 1990s, according to Gipson, primarily for safety reasons.
Game and Fish officials will decide after Monday’s public meeting if they will release a full proposal. If a proposal is made, a second public meeting would be held May 6, and a formal comment period would run from April 23 through June 7.
Any regulation that would result would take effect Jan. 1, 2014.