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Old 07-01-2009   #1
Roy's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
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Big South Gate Status

Any word? It *is* July, after all...

I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied...learn to swim!
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Old 07-01-2009   #2
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 458
I just called the Forest Service was told the gate is scheduled to open late this Friday. This is an anticipated date, and it is not guaranteed to open then, but the chances are pretty good that it will open sometime Friday.

Current levels are medium-high (top mark on the painted rock gauge as of yesterday).

The gate status is posted here:
USDA Forest Service, Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests, Pawnee National Grassland - Recreation Activities- Canyon Lakes Ranger District, Long Draw Campground

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Old 07-01-2009   #3
Denver, Colorado
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Speaking of gate status... Seems to me like there should be a reasonable way for boaters to access the big south via long draw road before July. Water Supply Co. plows the road to operate and maintain long draw res, and the road is clear from very early on. The forest service keeps the road closed for a variety of reasons citing snowbanks in campgrounds, pine beetle kill tree work, muddy roads etc, none of which would prevent a car from driving up to long draw, dropping off boats, and getting on the river.

I don't know the full history of any negotiations concerning the gate, but this one seems like a prime mission for AW to tackle. While there may not be a ton of boaters wanting to jump on the big south when its raging, many boaters love the big south when its high, and early season runs when its on the way up would be great! I've talked to some of the forest service people about this and they rejected the idea of early access for boaters along long draw rd. Also seems like out of state boaters get skunked as the come in June when everything else is running, but don't want to do the overnight option. Thats a shame as well.

It seems to me that there could be some kind of agreement made to allow boaters to shuttle via long draw road. One option could be to keep campgrounds and side roads closed. Another option might be to open the gate on weekends. Many ways to get the access situation improved, all requiring some kind of negotiation with the forest service though.

Anyway... just a pet peeve of mine.
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Old 07-01-2009   #4
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Summit, Colorado
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Story I heard was they kept the gate closed until things were dry because ATV'ers used to come up and rip up the trails/roads/forest when things were still muddy. Don't know if the source on this was reliable or not.
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Old 07-01-2009   #5
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Bham, Washington
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Ian - Good points sir. I know the old guard have approached the forest service on multiple occasions to discuss very similar solutions to problem and have not gotten anywhere. That is not to say AW couldn't make progress or broach the subject. How about it Nathan?
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Old 07-01-2009   #6
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
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Well what I heard is that it is closed for your protection. Big brother wants to make sure your virgin eyes aren't corrupted by the sight of two moose doing the horizontal mambo. While it is all right to watch lions jack rabbit on the nature channel, Moose take their time and put in the ol' long deep stroke. Much like the one you will take on Double Trouble. Because of this, the Department of Family Values, which is an dep. under the umbrella of Homeland Security does not want to have people witness such atrocities. Consider it a parental advisory for mother nature.
This is just what I heard, it has yet to be confirmed. I think it is along the line of us landing on the moon.
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Old 07-01-2009   #7
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There are probably (definitely) more pressing issues for AW at the moment but I will try and organize some ideas so we can approach the FS over the winter.

My first thought was that maybe on 1 day of the weekend (sat or sunday) during the month of June there could be a specific meeting time at the gate and the FS could provide a pilot car to take paddlers in. The catch would be that each vehicle would need its own shuttle driver to follow the pilot car back out.

The pitch to the FS on this would be that the gate remains locked the whole time (the pilot car opens it and relocks it on the way in and out), they are able to control the flow of traffic to make sure everyone stays on the main road, and it takes very little of their time because it is only once a week during the month of June and it is only a in and out mission of under 2 hours.

This would provide limited access but would make the run available during a time you could count on there being water. It is our land after all isn't it and it is the premier class V run in the state right?
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Old 07-01-2009   #8
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Bozeman, Montana
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Old 07-01-2009   #9
Roy's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
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Thanks for the update, Frenchy!

Bummer about the uncertainty on when exactly it will open Friday, as that day would likely work for me. May call later in the week to see if they can get any more precise...
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied...learn to swim!
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Old 07-01-2009   #10
Denver, Colorado
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I guess it can't really hurt to keep asking the forest service, as long as its done nicely. Maybe one year they might say yes.

Agreed that this may be low on AW's to do list, but it seems like AW might have some more clout than a handful of boaters. Might bring a little more to the negotiating table. Maybe AW can keep it on the back burner for the future?

The one weekend day gate opening sounds like a very reasonable solution. Getting a shuttle driver is harder than running your own shuttle, but would still be workable.

On the positive side of things, seems like big south has a lot of water and long draw is full. Should be a great big south season. Time to stock up on the skeeter spray!

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