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Main Salmon power boaters go to online permit reservations

WATERSPORTS — Private power boaters are switching from a call-in system to an online reservation system for the Main Salmon Wild and Scenic River this year.

The change to the National Recreation Reservation Service website was made last year for power boats on the Snake River and for other rivers in Idaho under the 4 Rivers Lottery.

 “I know this will be an adjustment for people but the new reservation system will provide a more efficient and equitable opportunity for private power boaters to obtain permits for the Main Salmon Wild and Scenic River," said Salmon River District Ranger Jeff Shinn.

Details of the private powerboat permits, such as number of permits and season of use, will not be changing. Only the tool used to obtain a permit is changing.

The online reservation system will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which will allow users to check for cancellations at any time. The powerboat reservations will apply year-round.

A well-informed call center and Salmon River Ranger District personnel will be available for people who need assistance.

Info: Jeremy Harris, 208-983-4047 or 208-839-2211.

Inventor of jet-powered boats revolutionized river travel

BOATING — The boating industry this week is celebrating the contribution of Richard "Dick" Stallman, who was 34 in 1962 when he tested his invention — the jet outboard — by running a sled upstream through the rapids of Oregon's Rogue River.

Stallman died last week. 

“His invention was a major contribution to shallow-water boating world-wide and it greatly enhanced access to premium waters and hunter and angler success,” noted Glen Wooldridge of Wooldridge Boats of Seattle in a Facebook post announcing the death.

Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman has assembled this story, a nice look back at Stallman's revolutionary invention, which put sportsmen in the driver's seat for thin waters and fishing and hunting hot spots previously off-limits to motorized travel.

Coast Guard issues permit, ‘Race the St. Joe’ jet boat race is back on

The "Race the St. Joe" jet boat race near St. Maries on May 17-19 is back on, after the U.S. Coast Guard today issued a permit for the event. Gov. Butch Otter and Idaho's congressional delegation had pleaded with the Coast Guard to permit this year's race, rather than first require a lengthy environmental assessment that would have taken until far past the race date. The permit was issued today.

Commander Eric Belleque, chief of external affairs for Coast Guard District 13, said Friday that environmental concerns were being addressed "by requirements imposed by federal, state and local agencies on the event sponsors," and that he was confident the permit would be issued in time. Otter's letter to the Coast Guard included a memo from Idaho Fish & Game addressing concerns over eagle nests and bull trout, and recommending that zones be established around eagle nests for the event and spectators and vehicles kept out of those zones. With those steps, Fish & Game Director Virgil Moore said the event wouldn't impact sensitive wildlife in the area.

Belleque said, "As environmental stewards, the Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring that our marine event permit process complies with the letter and spirit of the law." Click below for Otter's full announcement.

Crash sets back jet boat races, but boats back on Clearwater today

RIVERS — The final two legs of the 2012 Toyota Weaver Seed World Jet Boat Championship races on Tuesday were cancelled after breakdowns and a spectacular crash.

Racing was scheduled to resume today with the field of competitors thinned to just a handful on Clearwater River courses involving two 40-mile legs between Orofino and Lewiston.

  • Click "continue reading" below for details on the crash from the Lewiston Tribune.

The races got of to a good start on the St. Joe River last weekend. Promoters say about 5,000 people were spread along miles of river to watch the boats roar by. The racing schedule continued to the River based out of Lewiston, and is scheduled to move next weekend to the Salmon River based out of Riggins.

The S-R had a story documented the economic activity the two days of racing encouraged in St. Maries.

Community celebrations and races take place over a nine-day period.

World jet boat races bring thunder to Salmon, Snake, St. Joe

RIVERS — The 2012 Toyota Weaver Seed World Jet Boat Championship races got their start on the St. Joe River last weekend. Promoters say about 5,000 people were spread along miles of river to watch the boats roar by.

The S-R had a story today documenting the economic activity the two days of racing encouraged in St. Maries.

Community celebrations and races take place over a nine-day period.

Read on for the racing schedule next week on the Snake river based out of Lewiston, and the following weekend on the Salmon River based out of Riggins. 

Motorized boating rules enacted for Missoula-area rivers

BOATING - New restrictions on motorized boating went into effect last weekend on Missoula area rivers, including parts of the Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Blackfoot.

On the Clark Fork, motorized travel is prohibited year-round through Missoula, from the old Milltown Reservoir area to just above the confluence with the Bitterroot on the western edge of town.

The previously unrestricted stretch of river from Kelly Island Fishing Access Site (FAS) to Harper’s Bridge FAS has the following regulations:

  • Motorized travel, except personal water craft (PWC), is allowed only from May 1-June 15.
  • 20 horsepower travel is allowed Oct .1-Jan. 31.
  • Float-only fishing is allowed the rest of the year.

Harper’s Bridge to St. John’s FAS, also previously unrestricted, is now open to motorized watercraft (except PWC) from Oct. 1-June 15 and to 20 hp or less June 16-Sept. 30. The regulations remain the same as they have been below St. John’s.

On the Bitterroot, the new regulations prohibit the spring unrestricted motorized travel that once was allowed below Florence Bridge. Under the new regulations, only 20 horsepower or less travel is allowed from Oct. 1-Jan. 31 for the entire river, and the rest of the year is float only.

On the Blackfoot, the former Milltown Reservoir area is now closed to motorized watercraft.

 This is just a summary of the recent changes. Boaters should review the new regulations and associated map on the FWP website.

The new regulations were proposed to address public safety concerns, social conflicts and a few outdated regulations pertaining to the Milltown area, officials said.

Jet boat races to roar on Snake River this weekend

RIVER RUNNING — The jet boats are coming!

Boating enthusiasts are being advised that ON SHORE is going to be the safest place along the Snake River in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. this weekend.

Some of the fastest boats in the world will be traveling up and down the Snake River this weekend as jet boat races return to the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley.

Participants are expected to reach speeds up to 130 mph as they race from Hells Gate State Park to Bear Bar in Hells Canyon.

Read on for details in a report from Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune.