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House Bill Opens Parks to Paddled Watercraft

Ian Walton, Getty Images

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) ā€” A U.S. House committee has unanimously passed a measure that would lift restrictions on canoes, rafts, kayaks and other hand-propelled vessels in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Tuesday’s action by the Natural Resources Committee sends the measure from Wyoming Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis to the House floor.

An amendment would delay the bill’s effective date by three years. Lummis says that will give administrators time to come up with river and stream management plans before restrictions are lifted.

The Department of Interior has opposed the measure. Agency officials have said it would prevent park administrators from using their professional judgment to decide where vessels should be allowed.

The agency says thousands of paddlers annually already visit areas in the two parks where the vessels are not banned.

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