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APRIL 3, 2007

America Outdoors E-News

Delaware Outfitters Concerned about Floodplain Rezoning Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting Imminent
Lyle Laverty Nominated for Assistant Secretary for Fish Wildlife and Parks Texas Supreme Court Decides in Favor of Outfitter in Venue Ruling
Weather Channel Program Features Rafting on Lochsa River Michelle Hanten Loses Battle with Cancer
Delaware Outfitters Concerned about Floodplain Rezoning
  After a series of floods in 2004, 2005 and 2006, the Delaware River Basin Commission established a Flood Plain Mitigation Task Force made up of local and state government representatives, planning commissions, water supply and utility authorities and politicians to develop a flood plain mitigation plan. No private property owners are represented on the Task Force. The 2006 flood that created most of the damage was the result of 15 inches of rain over a seven-day period. The chance for this occurrence is rated at 1 in 700 by the National Weather Service.

Canoe liveries along the Delaware are concerned that a plan to remap the floodplain will lead to acquisition of their riverside property or elimination of their facilities. Other strategies are being considered, including improved flood forecasting and revised operation of a dam in the headwaters to improve its flood storage capacity. The dam is used for water supply for New York City and for lake recreation, and has provided little flood storage capacity when heavy rains increased the likelihood for flooding.
Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting Imminent
  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear had exceeded recovery goals and is expected to be delisted as a threatened specie in the near future. Over 600 bears roam the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the bear is thought to have reached its carrying capacity inside the Yellowstone National Park. The National Wildlife Federation supports the delisting as a success story, but some other environmental groups oppose the delisting, which is expected to proceed anyway. For more details, see the report in the upcoming America Outdoors Spring newsletter.
Lyle Laverty Nominated for Assistant Secretary for
Fish Wildlife and Parks
  Lyle Laverty, the former Director of Recreation, Wilderness and Cultural Resources for the Forest Service, who is currently serving as Director of State Parks in Colorado has been nominated to oversee the Department of Interior's national parks, wildlife refuges, and related agencies. He also served as the Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region and Associate Deputy Chief of the Forest Service. Mr. Laverty is well known to outfitters and has attended several America Outdoors conventions.
Two Senate committees will oversee the nomination -- Energy and Natural Resources and Environment and Public Works -- before being sent to the Senate floor for confirmation. Key members of the Senate include Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Max Baucus (D-MN), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Warner (R-VA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Craig Thomas (R-WY).

Texas Supreme Court Decides in Favor of Outfitter in Venue Ruling
  A client of a Utah company operating in Arizona recently attempted to sue the company in Texas under Texas law for an incident that occurred during an Arizona raft trip. The Texas Supreme Court reversed a court of appeals ruling that the injury to the outfitter's client did not directly relate to the outfitters promotional activities in the state therefore specific jurisdiction did not apply. The court did say that the promotional activities were sufficient to establish a "doing-business requirement for jurisdiction" but found no relationship between the promotional activities and the injury. The appeals court will now have to determine if general jurisdiction applies.

AO has appealed to NPS to allow visitor acknowledgement of risk forms to include a source of law and venue clause. It will be virtually impossible for outfitters to understand every nuance of law in 50 states when mailing or promoting their services in those states.
Weather Channel Program
Features Rafting on Lochsa River
  The Weather Channel's Epic Conditions program featured AO member ROW and owner Peter Grubb in its program on Sunday night. Epic Conditions relates the impacts of weather to the challenge of various outdoor sports. Peter and his company represented the industry well in explaining the challenges of whitewater rafting on the Lochsa. The program also explained the Wild and Scenic Rivers system and the attraction of Idaho as a destination for rafting adventures.

Epic Conditions is a new, limited-run series exclusive to The Weather Channel and produced by Warren Miller Entertainment. The Weather Channel promotes the show as an opportunity to "Watch thrill-seeking enthusiasts participate in extreme environmental sports that create the ultimate adventure. Experience the adrenaline rush of skiing in Steamboat, big wave surfing in Hawaii, white water rafting in Idaho, mountain biking in Moab and sailing the Chesapeake. Epic Conditions airs Sundays 9 p.m. ET/PT only on The Weather Channel."
Michelle Hanten Loses Battle with Cancer
  Michelle Hanten, of Rogue River Raft Trips, passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, March 14, 2007, after battling breast cancer over a period of several years. She struggled long and hard and will be missed by the outfitters and lodge owners along the "wild and scenic" lower Rogue River in southern Oregon.

A longstanding member of America Outdoors, Michelle was well-renowned for her historical knowledge of the river and its banks, and especially knowledgeable about all things fishing and whitewater rafting in this area. Michelle is survived by her 10-year-old son Churchill, her father B.A. Hanten who was her original partner and mentor at Morrison's Lodge, and two brothers, Mark and Mike. Remembrances in her name can be sent to her professional women's organization scholarship fund at the PEO Foundation c/o Morrison's Lodge, 8500 Galice Rd., Merlin, OR 97532.
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Robin Brown Communications Director robin@americaoutdoors.org
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