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  • River of the Month | The Smith
  • Kelly Watters

River of the Month | The Smith

Western Rise believes that it is not only our responsibility, it’s our obligation to protect the world we are part of and enjoy. This belief affects everything, from how we choose fabrics to who we support and has led us to become a 1% For the Planet member. As we continue to grow we strive to be a company that makes a positive difference for our planet.

In collaboration with Western Rivers Conservancy, we are highlighting the valuable waterways that each and every garment bought from Western Rise helps support. We believe that the conservation of these waterways is not only vital to the ecosystems but also the protection of our valuable fresh water sources that become ever more important in our changing world and vital to all life on our planet.

THE SMITH RIVER

Winding through California’s northwest corner, the Smith River is the crown jewel of the wild and scenic river system. Rising in three major forks from the Klamath Mountains and Coast Range, the Smith runs wild and free through towering redwood and Douglas fir forests to the Pacific Ocean—all without a single dam. With more than 325 Wild and Scenic miles, the Smith is one of the most extensively designated rivers within the Wild and Scenic system.

WHY IT MATTERS

As part of the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion, the Smith nourishes one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world, with abundant aquatic and wildlife species, endemic plants like Darlingtonia Californica (aka, cobra lily) and the tallest trees on earth, coast redwoods. The Smith and its forks form the best-protected river system on the West Coast, and recreation opportunities abound.

Biodiversity

  • River basin supports at least 27 species of rare or endangered plants, some in specially designated tracts like the Myrtle Creek Botanical Area, on the North Fork. The basin includes the most diverse collection of conifers on the planet. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park flanks the main-stem and has some of the finest redwood groves left on earth.
  • The Smith is some of the best remaining habitat for anadromous fish in California. With cold, clear water and zero dams, the river supports the state’s healthiest wild runs of Chinook, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout. Its Coho are federally threatened. Much of the Smith River basin is state or federally protected, making the system critical to the long-term survival of these species.

 

 

HOW TO SEE IT

The Smith River provides an outdoor playground for people to fish, hike, swim, boat and take in the unmatched scenery of California’s redwood country.

 

Paddle

The Smith offers outstanding float trips for paddlers of all levels, from easy family floats on the lower river to Class IV and V mayhem on the upper forks. Northwest Rafting Co.’s Smith River pages and the Whitewater Guidebook are excellent resources.

Swim 

Plunge into the deep, turquoise pools of the Smith. Join the Smith River Alliance (see The WRC Story, below) for volunteer-powered fish counts each summer that help the organization monitor native fish runs.

Hike 

Trails abound. To start your research, visit the Forest Service’s Smith River National Recreation Area page. Want something easy? Stroll the Darlington Trail for a glimpse of the rare, carnivorous cobra lily.

 

 

GETTING THERE

From Highway 101, take State Routes 197 and 199 (The Smith River Scenic Byway) to access the Smith River NRA and Redwood National and State Parks, with dozens of spots for fishing, camping, boating, picnicking and swimming.

HOW WE HELP

Western River's Conservancy helps protect the health of the Smith River by protecting Goose Creek, one of the most important sources of cold water for the entire system. Even in times of drought, Goose Creek delivers cold, clear water into the South Fork Smith, water that is critical to the Smith’s wild runs of Chinook, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout. Our efforts conserved 9,500 acres—nearly the entire Goose Creek watershed—and protected 13 miles of river frontage. Goose Creek is now permanently preserved and managed as part of the Smith River National Recreation Area, where it remains a haven for wild salmon, steelhead, native trout and other imperiled aquatic species. The Smith River Alliance and Cal Trout were our partners in this effort.

 

CONTRIBUTE TO THE EFFORT

 

** Information provided by Western River's Conservancy 

  • Kelly Watters

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