Jetboat race withdrawn

  Two hundred years ago, Lewis and Clark's wood and hide boats lacked speed, but floated the explorers safely along sections of the Yellowstone River.

Had Bill Henderson of Big Sky Marine not withdrawn his application to host a Jet Boat Marathon this June, 20 personal watercraft would have raced up and back a 50-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River in Montana at more than 100 miles per hour.

Christine Phillips of the Sierra Club said if the marathon were run, "Lewis and Clark would roll over in their graves."

Henderson withdrew his application March 4, after learning the event required extensive environmental studies, said Lt. Tom Allen of the U.S. Coast Guard, which oversees all navigable bodies of water in the United States.

Criticism had also mushroomed: Federal and state officials said the marathon overlapped with waterfowl nesting and fledgling season, and that noise would disturb bald eagles, falcons and great blue herons that nest along the river between Billings and Columbus.

*JT Thomas

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