Posts tagged: Rafting
RIVERS — Montana Lieutenant Governor John Walsh will join other state officials today to celebrate the opening of a stretch of the Clark Fork River near Milltown that will be open for water traffic for the first time in more than a century.
What: Opening of 2.5 mile stretch of Clark Fork River to water traffic
When: Today (May 1) @ 10:45 a.m.
Where: Turah Fishing Access Site, eight miles east of Missoula on I-90 to Exit 113 (Turah), south then east for 2 miles.
Federal and local officials gathered in September to mark the end of a $100 million cleanup and restoration at Milltown Superfund site on the Clark Fork River upstream from Missoula.
Removal of the century-old dam and toxic mining sediments in an unprecedented scope was funded by a settlement with Atlantic Richfield Co.
Removing the dam eventually will be a boon to Clark Fork River native fisheries, state biologists say, but Missoula fly-fishing guides say aquatic insect hatches down from the dam site continue to be depressed.
The first advisory group meetings paving the way for the project were held in 1989 after arsenic was found in Milltown’s drinking water.
The Superfund work began in 2006 when crews began rerouting the river to drain the reservoir and expose the sediment contaminated by toxic waste flowing down the Clark Fork River from Butte-area mines.
In 2007, trains began hauling tons of sediment to holding ponds at Opportunity.
Milltown Dam was breached in 2008 and completely removed the following year. Since then, bulldozers scraped away the waste, dug new river channels and re-contoured the flood plain.
A state park is being developed at the site.
RIVERS – Thomas O’Keefe of American Whitewater will update paddlers on the approval for removing Mill Pond Dam on Sullivan Creek and other river-liberating projects in a program for the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club Monday, april 22 7 p.m., at Mountain Gear Corporate Headquarters, 6021 E. Mansfield Ave. in Spokane Valley.
O'Keefe, AW’s Pacific Northwest stewardship director, will discuss the national group’s regional river conservation efforts, including recent dam removal success stories, revision of national forest plans and the future of river management for the Lochsa River and the rest of the Clearwater drainage.
RIVERS – Lynn and Stan Mrzygod will recount their recent 30-day, 300-mile, self-guided winter excursion through the wild rapids in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in a slide program sponsored by the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club on Monday, 7 p.m. at Mountain Gear corporate offices, 6021 E. Mansfield in Spokane Valley.
This ought to be an excellent way to chill out after a busy weekend.
RIVERS — Bonnie Olin, author of Owyhee River Journals, will present a program and video about her experiences on Thursday (March 7), at 7 p.m. at Jack and Dan's Bar and Grill, corner of Hamilton Stree and Sharp Avenue.
The program is free, but reservations are required by Wednesday to reserve a seat in the limited space. Contact Northwest Whitewater Association:
email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text: 509-220-8018.
The Owyhee canyons in southwestern Idaho and Oregon — flushed with rushes of whitewater — are wild country, much of it proposed for wilderness.
“A trip into the Owyhee still allows you to feel like you are the first and only person to have set foot there,” she says.” It is here that it is still possible to “unplug” completely from the modern world, Olin said. It is one of the last places in the lower 48 states in which you do not require a permit to “just go.”
RIVERS — Photographer Gary Lane of Riggins, who does Salmon River rafting with Wapiti River Guides in Idaho, captured this image of a rare natural phenomenon that occurs in slow moving water in cold climates, such as January in the River of No Return Wilderness.
Ice circles are thin and circular slabs of ice that rotate slowly in the water. Generally they form in eddy currents. In fluid dynamics, an eddy is the swirling of a fluid and the reverse current created when the fluid flows past an obstacle or disturbance to the flow, such as a bay.
Some mystics have seized on the “power” of ice circles. Some wackos connect them with UFOs.
See other instances of ice circles:
RUNNING RIVERS — My wife and I and a dozen friends in our would-be rafting group feel your pain if you didn't draw a coveted permit to reserve a launch date for one of Idaho's four famous wilderness whitewater rivers.
We bombed, too.
The competition is stiff for the annual drawing to run the Salmon, Middle Fork, Selway or Hells Canyon of the Snake. But it's funny how some groups never get drawn and others seem to luck out and draw a permit every year.
Everyone who applied this year has received a query from the Forest Service, which is considering a weighted lottery for river permits roughly similar to that used in most states for issuing hunting permits. In other words, every time you apply and don't get selected, you gain chances that give you better odds in the next year's drawing.
It' a good idea? If you have a stake in this, read these details from the Forest Service and email them your thoughts.
North Idaho outdoorsman Todd Hoffman said he's already replied the Salmon-Challis National Forest with these suggestions for a weighted lottery:
- Cap preference points to five.
- Limit trips to one per person per year.
- Allow pooling of applications and preference points.
- Set preference points to zero for any one who draws a permit or who participates in another permit holders trip.
- Release any unused commercial launches to private boaters.
- Create an online follow up lottery for cancellations.
- Implement smaller caps for trip sizes, but create more launches.
RIVERS — My group of river-running hopefuls are feeling left out after all of us received “unsuccessful” notices from the annual lottery for summer floating permits on Salmon River through Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness.
The Forest Service permits for the Salmon, Middle Fork, Selway and Hells Canyon of the Snake are highly prized. Although it's disappointing not to draw a permit, nobody would want to go back to the chaos and degradation these most-popular rivers would suffer without regulation and daily group quotas.
Here's the observation from another unlucky permit applicant from the Northwest Whitewater group:
For those of us who put in for the 4 Rivers Lottery & got skunked once again, I weep with you…For what it's worth, the reason we don't score lottery launch dates isn't bad luck or poor karma. In the case of the Middle Fork, for example, those of us who never draw are victims of the immutable statistical fact that we are among nearly 10,000 applicants each year competing for each season's only 387 available launch permits.[How to even the odds: talk all your boating buds into NOT putting in for permits anymore 'cause it's pointless (LOL)].
RIVERS — Here's an appeal from Montana experts in the field of packrafting — a combination of rafting and backpacking:
We'll produce videos to help educate the public on safe, responsible backpacking, but we need a little help with funding. What do you get? Info on the equipment & techniques of packrafting so you can safely plan and execute your own packrafting adventures.
Check it out.
PADDLING — The artificial wave that has become a fixture in downtown Missoula and attracted kayakers from across the nation needs emergency repairs.
Brennan’s Wave was completed in 2006 and has served as a site for the U.S. Kayak Team’s Olympic Trial and the Montana Whitewater Championships, according to a story in the Missoulian.
Trent Baker, the spokesman for the nonprofit organization that funded the wave’s construction and oversees an endowment for its maintenance, says the wave has a giant crack in its middle chute.
The Missoulian reports runoff flows in the Clark Fork River likely caused the erosion.
Baker’s nonprofit has $20,000 to put toward fixing the crack but the repairs are expected to cost $50,000.
The group is seeking donations.
RIVERS — Proposals for providing public access to the Spokane River under the new Sullivan Road Bridge project will be revealed 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 16) in Council Chambers at Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Ave., Suite 101.
The updated Public Access Plan provisions of Spokane Valley's Shoreline Master Program also include details regarding Shelley Lake.
Public access to the river at Sullivan Road is critical to paddlers, including kayakers, canoeists and rafters as well as anglers.
Copies of the Public Access Plan section of the SMP are available on the city website at www.spokanevalley.org by selecting the Planning & Zoning link on the home page, and then the Long Range Planning link.
To sign up for email updates, contact LBarlow@spokanevalley.org or call (509) 720-5335.
RIVER RUNNING — Whitewater boaters are putting in their names before the Jan. 31 deadline for drawing dates to run Idaho's famous wilderness whitewater rivers, including the Selway, Hells Canyon of the Snake, Salmon and Middle Fork Salmon.
Of course, rivers change on their own each year from natural forces, but Middle Fork rafters will see nifty improvement.
The Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation partnered with the U.S. Forest Service in September to recronstruct the Middle Fork's Indian Creek boat ramp.The previous ramp constructed in 2006 fell victim to exposure and wood rot after supporting countless rafts on the 75-foot descent from the public air strip to the river.
More than 10,000 people float the iconic Middle Fork each year, and a large number of those users choose to fly into Indian Creek and use the boat ramp to launch when the water is either high or low. The ramp is also an integral component for outfitters who fly clients in for trips.
The Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation recruited ten volunteers from Idaho, Montana and Colorado to replace the ramp in its entirety, effectively installing a new boat ramp. The work consisted of manually deconstructing and hauling the old ramp to an off-site location, then reinstalling each new step and slide log by hand.
About12,000 pounds of timber was moved by hand during the demolition and reinstallation.
Read on for more details.
RIVER SPORTS — Members of Northwest Whitewater call their New Year Day tradition on the Spokane River the “Only Fools Float the River on the First,” event — and they had no shortage of numb skulls aboard this year.
The 20th annual Fools Float on Tuesday included 19 boats and 32 people braving temps that ranged around 23 degrees, reports organizer Paul Delaney.
RIVERS — Plans for replacing Sullivan Road's deteriorating west bridge over the Spokane River apparently include provision for recreational river access, according to canoe, kayaking and rafting groups that have been meeting with Spokane Valley planners.
“Had a very good meeting with engineers and City of the Valley officials last week and it looks like some new access is in the works when the project is done,” said Paul Delaney in an email to members of Northwest Whitewater.
City planners will explain the project in detail during a public presentations at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Jan. 9 at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
Waters sports enthusiasts should be involved with this process to lend their support to keeping river access on the agenda.
PUBLIC LANDS — The crowds that trashed the prized North Fork Coeur d'Alene fishing waters this summer have subsided back to the places they leave their garbage the rest of the year.
So it’s time for a river cleanup.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River Watershed Advisory Group and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests are organizing a public clean-up day including a free BBQ lunch and prizes for the “most interesting” garbage collected.
Info: Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District at (208) 769-3028.
”We are thrilled to host this much-needed river cleanup,” said Kajsa Stromberg, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality scientist and WAG facilitator. “All summer-long, there have been boaters, floaters, campers, and other visitors enjoying the North Fork and now we have cans and garbage piling up along the river banks and filling up its deep pools. Sometimes the river shines with all the cans.”
Tour operators were rated on criteria such as staff, itineraries, activities, accommodations, food and value. ROW received the highest ranking in any of the annual survey’s categories, which also included airlines, hotels and destinations.
“We are honored with this recognition and very grateful to all those who have trusted us with their precious vacation time,” said Peter Grubb, who co-founder, who said he had to buy a suit for the presentation ceremony in New York.
Grubb co-founded ROW as a whitewater rafting company in 1979 and has expanded to offering a variety of trips in 17 countries.
Grubb and wife Betsy Bowen are standout's locally and internationally for their contributions to protecting the outdoor environment.
WATER SPORTS – Two events that promote paddling sports are scheduled this month along the Spokane River.
Spokane River Festival for paddlers, Saturday starting at 11 a.m., is being organized by local kayak and rafting groups Saturday at Glover Field in Peaceful Valley.
The event, an evolution of the former Corbin Kick-off, offers a chance to see new boats and gear, join river tours and meet local whitewater enthusiasts. The date was incorrect in an announcement last Sunday in Outdoors
Paddle, Splash and Play on Aug. 18, another free event to encourage families to try craft such as canoes, kayaks, sea kayaks, inflatables, and stand-up paddle boards, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Nine Mile Recreation Area in Riverside State Park (Discover Pass required).
The event is sponsored by Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club, Mountain Gear, and Spokane Parks and Recreation.
WHITEWATER RAFTING — Local rafter Tanner Grant has put together another in a series of videos that chronicles a rafter's view of a popular river, labeling all the rapids.
This time it's the Alberton Gorge of Montana's Clark Fork River, a popular summer rafting destination between Missoula and St. Regis.
Grant recentlly floated the river at 7,000 cfs, which is a little higher than normal mid-summer flows because of this year's prolonged runoff. But you'll get good views of Triple Bridges, Split Rock, Tumbleweed, Fang and all the others.
We put in at St. John and took out 17 miles downstream at Forest Grove below Tarkio Canyon. This is a spectacular solid class III run through a beautiful canyon.
Check it out and see what fun is in store on the river along I-90.
RIVERS — At the risk of sounding like a liberal, greenie, environmental wacko, I must say I'm disgusted by the number of beer cans and even bottles the summer river tubers and rafters deposit in the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River on a hot summer day.
Seems like the Pack It In-Pack It Out slogan is replaced by Put It In-Puke It Out.
I'll let you know when Bud Lights outnumber cutthroat trout.
RIVER SAFETY — The number of drownings in the region's rivers this year has prompted a local campaign to get people thinking about reasonable safety practices.
Most of the victims would be alive today had they been wearing life jackets.
Perhaps the most incredible drowning story of the season involves the University of Idaho Student from Nepal who died of drowning last weekend during a rafting trip on the Selway River.
The Selway is a wilderness river, one of the wildest in the region. Just getting a permit to float the river requires a lot of luck in a draw and a safety orientation.
You could watch a thousand rafters or kayakers go past you on that river over the course of a season and not see a single person without a PFD while on the river.
Life jackets are part of the attire on the Selway, just as rodeo cowboys wear jeans.
Wow. What can you say?
WHITEWATER — Remember the mechanical bull riding made popular in Urban Cowboy?
A pair of boaters in a 14-foot cataraft got a feeling for that rotating, jerking motion as they ran Slalom Rapid and got hung up in Seymour's — a keeper wave on the South Fork Payette. The river was running 5850 cfs.