From thrilling whitewater to placid ponds, the waterways of our National Forests provide us with endless opportunities to fish, paddle and relax. Each year, these ribbons of blue host 46 million visits for ¬fishing alone and millions more for paddling and other water-based recreation. Ironically, those who love these places the most are inadvertently imperiling them by introducing non-native organisms to popular recreational waterways. How? As boaters travel to explore new -fishing holes, rivers and lakeside campsites, “hitchhikers” in the form of Aquatic Invasive Species or “AIS” catch a ride in boat bilges, on trailers or attached to hulls and other gear.
Above tree line, the regal peaks of the Tahoe National Forest herald a landscape of towering forests, rushing streams and shimmering groves of aspens. Cirques carved by glaciers cradle alpine meadows lush with spring wildflowers. Dozens of small streams flowing into two major river systems drain the 850,000-acre forest near the northern end of the Sierra Nevada, the mountainous block of granite that tilts along the California border with Nevada.