I asked a couple days ago why waivers, volunteers, etc. were part of the protocol for paddling Tallulah. If anyone "out there" dorks out on this stuff the way I did last night, then the following summary might be of interest.
I think the answer to my question is that Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) and Georgia Power run the show, and that the FERC license gives GDNR the power to impose such requirements.
Specifics from the license follow. Thanks, Katie, for referencing a webpage with a link to the relevant FERC license ( http://www.hydroreform.org/projects/north-georgia-p-2354
Please correct me if I've made any mistakes.
1. The federal government (e.g., EPA), various paddling and environmental advocacy groups, and various people clearly put in a lot of work to balance the need for energy production with recreation and ecological concerns.
2. The license is in effect from 1996 through 2036
3. Pages 13 & 14 of the FERC license state that Georgia Power will lease 3000 acres of its land to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) for Tallulah Gorge State Park & Conservation Area. It continues that GDNR will control recreational use of the park.
4. Page51 of the FERC license (which is page 2 of Appendix B) states that Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) will manage registration of boaters, and that boaters must register before accessing the river. It continues that GDNR can deny access to a person if the person fails to meet various criteria.
5. Page 52 of the FERC license (i.e., page 3 of Appendix B) states that GDNR can limit access to the river to 120 people times the number of releases. With the current 10 releases, I guess that means GDNR could limit access to one trip for 1200 people or more than one trip for fewer than 1200 people.