Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Green river - Tammie eradication, riverside pot farming, flash floods, plane crash
FYI - This was posted to the Utahrafters email list (minor edits for clarity). It looks like its been an interesting summer on Labryinth / Still Water Canyons. There was also an airplane crash into the river but its only mentioned in passing.
Tom inquired earlier about Alan's disappearance from Mineral Canyon.
This is third hand information, so I'll leave out the details (there
was some speculation). I was told by some folks from Florida that the
river ranger in Green river told them that between the small plane
crash in the river at Mineral, and the ensuing FAA investigation, a pot
farm was discovered. I heard about both these events earlier this
summer. Alan and his trailer have been gone ever since. I spoke to
Alan several times about his electromagnetic, or some wave experiments
he was into, and hope he is doing well wherever he is now.
The beetles have eaten all the tammies from Green River to Mineral. And
I mean all, it was actually pretty scary. And they are very thorough,
they eat EVERY leaf on every frond, nothing is left except the very
thin branches. I counted as many as 25 beetles on a frond about 12"
wide and 18" long. I did see healthy trees up on the plateau on the way
out. I was walking and had plenty of time to look around. The trees at
Bowknot are mostly healthy at the top (being eaten however), but
totally eaten by the bottom of the bend. It appeared to me an assult
was launched from far upstream and far down, and met about there.
But I don't know. If the trees are brown the beetles are gone, zippo. They
are very active at Mile 76, Honeymoon Cove camp, they are crawling all
over. The trees which were eaten earlier this season just above Mineral
are budding out again. I can see why it may take 7 years to finish them
off, if ever. But there is 100% more visability along the shores from
the defoliation. I could see through much of the forest. As much as I
dislike tammies in most situations, there will be a lot less shade and
privacy in camps now, even if the trees are not dead. I didn't see any
on the Grand Canyon, but if they eat all those tammies it will be
Probably some trails will start being cut into the forests, new camps
established and the hikes and petros made more accessible. I've heard
tammy wood is second only to Mt. Mahogany, burning wise. Cordless
sawsalls will probably become standard camp fare.
Due to the hugh storm last month that enhanced the Cow Ck rapid on
Deso, all the major side canyons have hugh sand/mud bars in front and
downstream now, and many times you have to pull over upstream to get up them. Trin Alcove which was kind of full of sand two years ago (it was
very narrow paddling up) then scoured last summer (you could paddle way
up), is now full again 5-6" deep, and only open about 30 feet up the
ck, and full of mud. You know, the MF of the Salmon was unchanged for
about 20 years and now it is changing about every year (of course the
huge fires are playing a great part), same on the Green?, maybe
something "is up?"
A fire of epic proportions is becoming a possibility now on the Green,
roaring along 120 miles of brown tammies. A lot of the interior wood is
really dead, dead. The newly eaten looks dead, but is pliable and still
green at the cambrium. Give it a couple more years though. And it does
not take a lot of heat to kill Cottonwoods and Oak, the remaining
trees. (I don't count willows, they will always be there). The oak will
come back but not the Cottonwoods. Pretty scary seeing the TOTAL
decimation of the most dominate species along the river in a matter of
one year. (I was down "07 June but not last Fall). It may have really
only taken this one summer. I realize it must have been perk, perk,
perking along unnoticed then, WHAM.
I only mentioned the Cow Ck episode in Deso because it was most
likely the same storm, and there was a lot of discussion concerning
this event (on this forum), to let people know when these blowouts
occurred. All my comments were concerning the Laby/Still section.
Every side canyon flashed, big time. Several huge outflows, still in
place. In some places the river had to be almost or temporarily
damned. I can't remember which one, but the main channel is even very
narrow now. One of the largest was at Hell Roaring Canyon. There is a
dry mud beach now at least 50 yds into the river, and 100 yds
downstream (conservative est). Horseshoe outflow is very large also.
They look solid, but I sunk up to my knees in other canyon outflows,
getting up them. I guess they will solidify as the water continues to
drop. In all fairness the river is shallow now, and the results of
the outflows probably visually exaggerated. I expect they will be
washed away next Spring. As an aside, the banks are eroding faster it
seems with the demise of the tammies, I wonder if the bug guys
thought about all the additional silt moving into Lake Fowl. If the
trees are killed off, it might be way beyond considerable. Especially
if the Colo section looks anything like the Green, and it was
reported on a Cat trip report, that may be the case. That report
prompted me to mention the beetles on the Green. Not to be overly
dramatic but this may be a once in a lifetime occurrence, we are
witnessing, especially if fires materialize, and wipe out everything
It is hard to find a place to park and get through the tammies to
HIKE UP the side canyons.
I don't know how the tammies could be OK in Aug at Mineral, and now
totally brown, but they are. As I said though, they are budding out
now again. I assumed they were one of the first defoliated zones. The
new buds look weird, like mistletoe, very clumpy, and not regularly
spaced on the branches. They are not budding out upriver, yet. If you
took any pics at Mineral take another look.
Finally, I just want to be clear that I did not say Host Alan was
caught growing anything. I was told something like, "he should have
known what was going on down there", and then he was removed.
Obviously, nothing was proved if he is living in Oregon. The Feds
don't usually mess around. I was told there were several agencies
involved, including the Fed Tobacco and Firearms guys. Yikes!! I
always gave Alan any extra water I had left over, he appreciated it.
And I totally agree, I can't imagine a place where Alan would be
happier than Mineral Bottom.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse