by Steve Silva
It’s that time of year again: The deadline to enter the Four Rivers Lottery is Tuesday, Jan. 31.
For those who aren’t familiar with this lottery, Idaho manages four of its most sought-after whitewater rivers with a lottery permit system for rafting during the summer floating season: the Middle Fork, the Main Salmon, the Selway and the Snake River through Hells Canyon, all of which are considered to be some of North America's premier rafting destinations.
The lottery permitting process is now done online. In order to apply, go to recreation.gov and follow the directions. (If you run into problems during the application process, you can call 877-553-6777.)
The results of your application will be e-mailed to you after the drawing, which is scheduled for early February. You can see the results online by checking your profile beginning on Friday, Feb. 4. All of the applicants who are successful are required to confirm their reservations by Tuesday, March 15. If you do apply and don't score a permit, keep in mind that all of the rivers are open for floating without the need for a special permit during spring, fall and winter.
And also remember that many permit-holders cancel, and their permits are made available on a first-come first-served basis.