RRFW Riverwire – DIAMOND CREEK TO SOUTH COVE UPDATE
RRFW Riverwire – DIAMOND CREEK TO SOUTH COVE UPDATE
June 13, 2007
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South Cove Takeout Information
There is a new river runner takeout area at South Cove about 500-600 feet south of the old takeout area. All river runners taking out at South Cove are required to use the new ramp. There is a 3000 foot-long dirt road from the top of the main concrete ramp to the new location. All self guided and concessionaire river runner takeout operations have been moved to the new site. River runners are encouraged to drop folks off at the ramp to retrieve their vehicles from the parking lot, but are required to take all gear to the new river runners’ takeout ramp. The old dirt river runners’ takeout is now used for launching motorized lake boats only.
The NPS is extending the permanent public launch ramp at South Cove in addition to replacing the asphalt section, but can only extend it down to the waterline. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is spending $318,444 on the work at South Cove.
The new extended launch ramp will not reach the water until water levels rise this fall. The water is projected to rise to 1,117 feet, so there may be a short period where the permanent ramp will be useable. By March 2008, projection show the water level dropping until September 2008 when it reaches 1,100 feet. The NPS will again be looking at temporary ramp use for the spring and summer of 2008.
River runners are asked to be patient and understanding in the de-rig area as Hualapai, concessions and public rafters are all taking out in the same area. River runners are encouraged to maintain as small a takeout footprint as possible, and to de-rig as quickly as possible. Early morning takeouts are recommended in the high use seasons of late spring, summer and early fall, in order to beat the heat. Daytime temperatures in the heat of summer can reach 115 degrees.
National Park Service Rangers note that no camping is allowed on the South Cove ramp and takeout area, or at the public swimming area just north of the concrete ramp. Camping is allowed outside the harbor area, and is available downstream (south) of the new river runners’ take out.
The Mead View SCAT (toilet wash out) machine was opened after the end of overnight freezing temperatures in March. Scat machine users are encouraged to fill their scat boxes with water once the box is tied into the machine. Allow a few minutes for the contents of the box to re-hydrate before closing the scat machine lid. Scat Machine users must allow the white 50 gallon tank to completely fill before starting another cycle. Activating the system before this tank is full will lock the sold waste can into the Scat machine and disable the machine. It is illegal to leave unattended toilet cans at this location. The entire machine may be updated this fall.
The NPS does not advise night floats due to the potential risk for collision with other watercraft and/or submerged trees. If a night float is undertaken, National Park rangers would like to remind river runners that there must be a person on watch with a lantern or flashlight ready to warn oncoming boats. Any boats with a motor (4-stroke motors only) running, whether tied together as a single craft or running as separate craft, must have navigation lights displayed red/green on the front and a white 360 degree light at the stern (back of the boat—visible 360 degrees).
Mead View Change in Personnel
For the last ten years, Grand Canyon National Park Ranger Chris Mengel has been stationed at the Mead View Ranger Station. Chris has accepted a new position with the Park Service as the Supervisory Park Ranger at Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland near Camp David. His wife Jen will accompany him.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here working with the river community” noted the well-liked Mengel. In looking back over his stay, Chris was happy that “there haven’t been many accidents and only one fatality in all the years I’ve been here.” In his time at Meadview, Chris regrets only that there was not enough water in the lake. “The lake was at 1220 when I first arrived and has dropped over 100 feet in the time I have been here.”
Helicopter and tour boat activity continues to increase near Quartermaster Canyon. A fleet of 5 to 6 power boats doing 20 minute trips for helicopter passengers from Grand Canyon West plies the section of river around 260 Mile daily, with intense helicopter activity in this area sunrise to sunset.
Concessions jet boat takeouts are operating from South Cove to Separation Canyon at this time. While Coast Guard regulations state that downstream traffic has the right of way, downstream river runners should be on the lookout for fast moving, up-running traffic, especially around blind curves. Use caution to avoid collisions.
River runner trash can be deposited at the Cerbat Landfill on the drive to Kingman on highway 93. The landfill turnoff is at mile marker 60, and the landfill site is 2 miles north from 93 up the Mineral Park road. Landfill hours are M-F 7 to 3, Sat 8 to 3, closed Sunday. There is a minimum landfill fee of $5.85 for 300 pounds or less.
For homeland security purposes, all trailers and box trucks are being inspected at Hoover Dam, and box trucks and trailers need a clear aisle down the middle of the load for visual inspection of 80% of the load.
For additional information and answers to specific questions about the Diamond Creek to South Cove section of Grand Canyon, please contact the Mead View Ranger Station at 928-564-2918.