Outside Magazine - July 2008

outside_july08

RIVERS GONE WILD

The West’s water shortage may get a year’s reprieve. Last winter’s epic snowpack—in some places the biggest since the 1960s—is fueling the best whitewater season since the invention of self-bailing rafts. The timing couldn’t be better: 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers act. The once-obscure bill, which was signed into law by war-tainted, outgoing President Johnson in1968, has protected 165 Americans rivers from damming and development. To celebrate, we sifted through the country’s top Wild & Scenic River trips and picked the best.

By GRAYSON SCHAFFER

Tuolumne River, California

O.A.R.S. three-day raft outing down California’s 18-mile Class III-IV Tuolumne starts at the northern border of Yosemite National Park and descends pounding rapids through a granite gorge. The Tuolumne flows mostly over bedrock, creating an effect similar to that of a theme-park inner-tube ride with much wilder water—this year especially.