Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law an amendment to the state's Recreational Use Statute that will protect Chelan County PUD from being held liable if kayakers are injured during trips through the Chelan River Gorge.
The PUD has been required by its 2006 federal operating license for the Lake Chelan Hydro Project to conduct kayaking tests through the dangerous gorge to assess interest and feasibility in having the rugged whitewater runs accessible to expert boaters several weekends each year. So far two years of test runs have been completed, with a third year planned in 2012. Fifty-six kayakers have made the run and have filled out evaluation reports on the experience, suggesting how runs ought to be managed in the future.
Because the kayaking activity was not specifically covered under the existing state liability statute, Chelan PUD began working three years ago to get the statute amended. The amendment passed the Legislature this year without a single no vote in any committee hearing or floor vote in either chamber.
Previous Kayaker Stories:
Chelan River Gorge Kayakers On Their Own 04/07/11