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Old 07-19-2011   #1
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 43
Big South July 30-31 (levels/road open?)

I'm trying to plan a trip to Colorado over the weekend of July 30-31 and we really want to come to do the Big South. I need to make plans at work in the next day or 2.

Can any locals confirm if they are 90% sure the road will be open and there will still be a good low/medium level that weekend. I want to know it's a fairly safe bet before we make plans.


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Old 07-19-2011   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
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The forest service website says it will open July 30 so you should be safe. Water may be higher than low/med but we'll have to see how the Poudre drops over the next couple days.

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Old 07-19-2011   #3
Boulder, Colorado
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Unfortunately you're not going to be able to get that good of a guarantee on this one. The Forest Service could keep the gate closed longer than expected, and while natural flows are somewhat predictable, flows out of Long Draw can change dramatically.
Scott Andrews
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Old 07-19-2011   #4
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Boulder, Colorado
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Nathan, Where's the forest service website that lists this info?

I agree with Scott that there's no guarantee. We saw a ranger on the Poudre last weekend who said they're trying to get the road open on the 30th, but they don't make promises. I would say chances are pretty good that you'll at least get low flows for the run at the end of the month, but you never know. Natural flows are dropping fast and releases from Long Draw vary.
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Old 07-19-2011   #5
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Thanks for the Beta. Does anyone know how much water is coming out of the Big South proper right now? The one time I ran it before there was roughly 210 cfs coming out of Long Draw Reservoir and it didn't seem like a ton of water coming down the main Big South and I would have called it a low/med flow.

Also, is there a website or anyway to know several days in advance what they will release out of Long Draw?
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Old 07-19-2011   #6
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Long Draw Campground

Rock Report on Sunday was high still, gauge rock covered.
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Old 07-19-2011   #7
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Boulder, Colorado
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Cool, thanks for the link.

Poudre rock report is the best resource for tracking levels in the canyon:
Poudre Rock Report

Big South gauge rock buried means it's pretty high. I think 1 3/4" on the rock is about as low as I've done it and you probably don't want to run it much lower than that.

As for predicting Long Draw releases, I don't think they advertise anything, but you can probably guess that if it's hot and dry in the plains they're likely to release more. deepsouthpaddler on this forum probably has the best connection to find out some insider information on Long Draw releases before a given weekend.
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Old 07-19-2011   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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I just talked to the canyon lakes ranger district that opens long draw road. The road is currently closed for removal of bettle kill trees. The forest service told me that the contract with the removal contractor states that they have to be done by July 30.

The forest service thinks that there is a very good chance that the road will be open July 30th, and they are hoping to get it open friday July 29th. They won't 100% gaurantee it, because... sometimes shit happens.

I am pretty confident that they will open the gate for the July 30 weekend. The only thing holding them back is the tree work, and those guys are planning to be out them.

As for flows... its hard to say. There is no scheduled release planning for Long Draw reservoir. I typically talk to the long draw guys at the end of the week to see what they are planning for the weekend. They often make small changes to the flows on fri or sat as they plan thier water delivery cycle. I spoke with the long draw folks earlier this month and they thought that they would be releasing the 200ish range in august, which is a standard release.

Its hard to correlate flows in the big south to releases as natural flow has a big impact, and there is no cfs gauge on the full run, so estimates vary. With flows being high right now, but falling, I would expect the big south to drop into med to med/low flows by the opening weekend. It seems to drop from high to med to med/low in a couple weeks many years anyway.

So, the takeaway message is that big south is not 100% certain on flows or gate for July 30/31, but its very likely that it will be in. If I were you, I would get the tickets and keep the fingers crossed. There will be something to run that weekend, so in the off chance that you get skunked on the big south it won't be a total waste.

While you are at it... get tickets for Aug 13/14 for Bailey Fest. Flows will be med/low and I'd love to see some canoes styling bailey.

Good luck.

P.S. I will post flow info from long draw in the week prior to opening to get better info from the water guys.
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Old 07-25-2011   #9
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Any further insight on this? This is the weekend right? I'm thinking my shoulder is ready for big south, as long as I walk all the $hit i usually walk anyway.

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 07-26-2011   #10
boulder, Colorado
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big south

hey dave if u decide to roll up to the big south let me know i would love to check it out. josh @530-308-5771 thanks buddy

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