The Upper Chattooga River will be open to paddlers for the first time in more than three decades starting Dec. 1. The U.S. Forest Service announced this week their final decision to allow limited, non-motorized boating on seven miles of the river during times of high flow, which the Forest Service estimates would amount to an average of six days a year.

Paddling had been banned by the Forest Service on 21 miles of the upper portion of the river since 1976. The Forest Service decided to reexamine recreation on the river after American Whitewater challenged the a 2004 decision by the Forest Service to continue the ban. The Chattooga, designated a Wild and Scenic River in 1974, is 57 miles long from its headwaters near Cashiers, N.C., to Lake Tugaloo, and is one of the few such designated rivers known to ban non-motorized boating.