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Chapter 2 -- Description of the Smith River watershed (continued)


The Smith River is increasingly popular as a recreation destination. During the summer, sunbathing and swimming are enjoyed in many areas. Excellent opportunities for white water rafting and kayaking are also available. The steep terrain combined with abundant precipitation creates a range of boating conditions, ranging from easy to difficult. High flows during winter and spring provide the best conditions for rafting and kayaking. White water boating is available on the North Fork and Middle Fork in fall, winter, and spring, and on the South Fork throughout the year.

Other activities of interest include fishing, picnicking, snorkeling, berry-picking, driving off-road vehicles, horseback riding, hunting, and cross-country skiing. Visitors also enjoy viewing wildlife, fish, waterfalls, and geologic features. Flowering delights include Pacific dogwood trees in April, wildflowers in April and May, wild azaleas in May, and wild rhododendrons in June. Special permits are issued for campfires and harvesting of various materials including mushrooms, mistletoe, plant specimens, pine cones, and firewood (Smith River NRA 1994).

Infrastructure to support recreation includes campgrounds, hiking trails, designated touring routes, and river access facilities. Camping is available in developed campgrounds in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and four campgrounds on national forest lands. Primitive camping is allowed on most National Recreation Area lands. There are sixteen major hiking trails having a total distance of about 65 miles. Many of the trails lead into the Siskiyou Wilderness (Smith River NRA 1993b, 1993c). Highway 199, which crosses the Smith River watershed, is promoted as the "Smith River National Scenic Byway." In addition, the Forest Service has designated several "backroad discovery tours" for bicyclists and motorists (Smith River NRA 1993a). River access is provided at eleven places along Highway 199 and South Fork Road. A boat ramp is located near the confluence of the Middle Fork and the South Fork (Smith River NRA 1993d).


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