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Old 10-06-2010   #61
SonOfASailor555's Avatar
Cascade, Idaho
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6
The only thing I feel compelled to add to this discussion is my concern over the oft-stated comparison of removing/moving/altering Dean's Rock to the work done to build Kelly's Whitewater Park at Cascade. Apples and oranges. Where KWP was built was once be class II whitewater at best—that's being generous. In addition to building 5 features where there were essentially none, the project also brought about the removal of a dangerous, crumbling concrete diversion dam that used to be part of the Boise Cascade lumber mill that once stood where the park now stands. Complete with re-bar and assorted junk dumped there over the years. Where there was once no reason to boat, there are now all kinds of reasons and that hasn't been lost on the boating public as it was a very busy first year for KWP. Everything else has been said better than I can say it.

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Old 10-06-2010   #62
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Whoa Mike- you're slumming now, posting on the Buzz!

I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 10-07-2010   #63
SonOfASailor555's Avatar
Cascade, Idaho
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6
Slumming? Laura, it's more like I've left my hovel under the overpass and I'm hanging out in Tuxedo Park ...
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Old 10-07-2010   #64
loveland, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 317

Here is a response from Tren at Cascade concerning swiveling the rock:
This might have minimal impact while reducing impact to quality of line by rock...

Hi,Absolutely that is one of the options that has been proposed. We actually just heard back from a hydrologist about the minimum impact on the rapid, and according to him, there would be minimal change in the rapid, with the ability to eliminate the sieve! Deans rock is basically sitting on three rocks, on to the right one slightly behind and to the left and another to the far left. I think if we swivel it almost 180 it would fill in its on sieve (Based on the shape of the rock) and the rapid would essentially be the same. We have sent in some much more detailed photos for additional analysis.
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Old 10-11-2010   #65
phlyingfish's Avatar
Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
Gentle reminder, the meeting to discuss CRC's proposal is at 7 tonight. Location: Cascade Outfitters, 604 E. 45th Street , Boise, Idaho 83714

Whichever way you lean on this issue, show up and be heard. There's more at stake than Staircase.
"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes writing for the majority in New Jersey v. New York
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Old 10-14-2010   #66
climbermale's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 41
Josh I know you are in your own words extremely opposed to this whole moving a rock in a river. But, I feel that you have misled the entire mountainbuzz community in your way of handling this situation. Your right in the fact that one person should not get to decide to make a river stream modification. What you forgot to say was the US Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District already had and I would assume took on the liability. This is already an unnatural man made rapid. Tom Long is trying to let people know of a danger of a misplaced Boulder. He dose not want to change a rapid but turn a rock. I called him and spent 30 minutes with a great man that wants to bringing awareness to a known problem in your area. Tom is trying to be river responsible and save future lives that could be lost. Boaters now are taking cheap shots and telling him to get better guides. I would think a company like his would have great guides, they have been in business since 1985 and have great reviews. He also offers NFPA Certified Courses and several rescue classes including Swift Water Rescue basic and advanced and Technical Rope Rescue. But, could it be his guides are tired of pulling off pinned boats and putting their own lives at risk along with the group they are responsible for. Running this section of river this year Cascade guided pinned one boat with over 300 trips down, not bad for any company. This rapid is not a problem for him or his company guides, the problem is with private boaters. If your community dose nothing about the situation it will end up like one in Colorado where 4 people have died sense 2000, two being husband and wife. I personally don’t feel that it is responsible to do nothing and just watch another death happen. I also feel that there is a difference between natural and man made. All and all it’s irresponsible. If you were the parent of a victim, would it change the way you feel? What if your child’s body was in a sieve or undercut rock for 3 months and you had no closure. If turning a rock or making a channel deeper saves a life then it is worth it. If that is not possible adequate signage should be in place. I am talking signage that dose not blend in with the forest. But, setting in your boat paddling by doing nothing shows complete disregard for our great community. This is a sport where people come together and help one another. We learn together, celebrate together, chase gear and boats together and in all sadness greave together. We jump on the buzz anytime we loose a piece of equipment and it is usually found and returned with in a week. But, it can also be a very selfish community. It blows me away when we can change the river bottom for our pleasure but not to save a life. I believe after talking to Tom that is what he is doing. If our community chooses to do nothing there will be another death on the Staircase. If the rock is or is not moved Tom has made everyone a where of a situation that calls for concern and he can sleep at night knowing he made a difference. If I ever make it down to the Staircase rapid I know I will be very careful around the rock and if something happens I hope Cascade is close by with there trained staff. I happen to be extremely opposed to doing nothing in an area that is not in its natural state.
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Old 10-14-2010   #67
jmcdannel's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 159
I have intentions of communicating my thoughts in a post now the meeting has taken palce, but I haven't had time yet. Stay tuned for a more in-depth post.

But, in reply to climbermale:
I stand behind my actions and words and I am not going to apologize for having an opposing opinion on this.

Also, just to clarify, my original post was "Rock REMOVAL Permit Issued." I was and am strongly opposed to that. A lot has changed since then.

When this first surfaced, there were two issues I had: 1-that the permit was issued without public comment, 2-that a rock was going to be removed and would therefore drastically change a great rapid. Well, we fixed the problem with #1 by getting the permit revoked and getting the public aware and involve. I am proud to have been a part of that. And #2 is no longer the issue. There is no longer a proposal to remove the rock, just to move it. So, I am forming a new opinion. I've previously commented that I think the Longs have been great stewards of the river and I have never questioned their commitment to safety and running a top-notch rafting company. I'm sorry the Longs had to endure some backlash from the community, but people get heated over things like this (rightfully so) and I don't think it's my fault.

But, I suppose you wish I'd have never said anything?

I still disagree with the idea of moving the rock.

I think mistakes were made when the rapid was modified after the 2001 slide. That set a precedent. Now, since the rapid had a bulldozer in it, the Longs and their supporters want to act upon the precedent set in 2001 and fix the mistake. Well, one of my biggest problems with this from day 1 had been precedent. And that remains a big factor in my opposition. Two wrongs don't make a right.

If turning a rock or making a channel deeper saves a life then it is worth it.
I couldn't disagree with you more about making rivers safer for the sake of saving a life in the future. The way you state your argument makes it sound like you think we should remove any obstacle if it kills somebody. This sport is dangerous. Undercut rocks exists in many many places. Other features capable of killing exist everywhere.

I HAVE lost a friend in the river. Last year. Maybe you read about it.
Death on the Murtaugh
I was devastated and it affects me to this day. But I don't want Hooker Ledge modified to save a life in the future.

I hate signs that tell me rafting or rapids are dangerous. I like running rivers without knowing exactly whats around each corner. We can't put signs up at every obstacle. I'm not 100% opposed to signage on the staircase run, but I wish people who aren't willing to take the risk of the rapid as it is would run another stretch. Signage is better than moving the rock, but I think there are other or additional opportunities to raise awareness of the hazard. Places like the buzz, I think, are great for this type of information. If someone wants to know how to run staircase, come ask other river runners. I think that awareness of this NEW obstacle will be greatly increased by the event and conversations of the past weeks.

Any road-side rapid is "man-altered." I hope people with your opinion stay away from the north fork payette, lochsa, or any of the great road-side rivers I frequent. Keep your rock-moving, obstacle-crushing, thrill-hating, canal-creating butt away from my rivers. I don't want anymore class II rapids.

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Old 10-14-2010   #68
Costa Mesa, California
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 138
What if the Army Corps of Engineers put out a letter saying we fucked up. We created a dangerous hazard while dredging the river from the landslide and we are going to fix it. We don't want to be liable for that.

Then what would you do? Or Say? Or Feel?

FWIW I don't like the idea of changing rapids. I would be so bummed if I went to my local river and saw a rapid was changed for safety. Especially if I worked up to that river. And knew about the dangerous rapid. And built my skills so that one day I could run it. And then what was once a great challenge was now nothing.
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Old 10-14-2010   #69
Costa Mesa, California
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 138
I was actually up on the Payette this summer with my girlfriend. We wanted to R2 and were coming from Boise. I have rowed the upper section of the South Fork with the Big Falls portage but have never been on the staircase run. After looking at it from the side of the road. And still feeling hungover we opted for the Cabarton run for a nice mellow day. This decision was partly based on my girlfriends friend getting stuck on that rock and having a close call a few weeks prior. I like the idea of the river being a challenge and knowing this in the back of my mind. Im looking forward to doing this run with some nervousness in my stomach about that rock.
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Old 10-14-2010   #70
SonOfASailor555's Avatar
Cascade, Idaho
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6
Personal responsibility

Here's the last bit (edited a tad for clarity only) of a rather lengthy letter I sent to the Idaho Whitewater Association board outlining my position on moving Dean's Rock on Staircase ... and I have to say that I think Josh is pretty much spot-on with his comments above.

As much of this discussion seems to have become focused on the number of wraps by private boaters on Dean's Rock, here are a few (too many probably) words about personal responsibility. While I admire and appreciate Cascade Raft Company's commitment to helping recover private boats that do get wrapped there, it is a part of this quandary. Maybe if CRC were to charge for its time and effort to unpin boats wrapped there, we might see a reduction in the number of incidents there. It might cause some boaters, ill-equipped or of questionable ability, to re-think a decision to float the Staircase section. Now, of course, if lives are at stake, EVERYONE will help out. I'm primarily talking about situations where people are safe and all that's at issue is a boat and equipment wrapped on a rock. Some South Fork boaters, primarily some of those new to the sport, seem to have an attitude of reliance on others, that there is an obligation on the part of commercial outfitters and local government entities to bail them out when they get in trouble pursuing some outdoor pursuit. It's more of that "saving us from ourselves" attitude that I abhor. And I believe CRC has been somewhat accommodating to that attitude. As an alternative, I'd say there is a good chance other private boaters would step up to help unwrap boats there. Many of us are packing around “pin kits," itching to break them out and practice what we learned in rescue classes such as those taught by CRC. It seems that CRC has made a choice to be the savior of those who have problems at Dean's Rock and elsewhere on the Payette system. Again, I emphasize that I'm talking primarily about recovering lost equipment and stuck boats. CRC's choice is truly generous and community-spirited. But, as my dad used to say, "If you continue to bail out the fools, the fools will continue to be fools." And unfortunately, fools sometimes die doing foolish things. People who boat Class IV water should have the skills and knowledge — or, at the least, be boating with others who have the skills and knowledge — to help them out of a situation with a wrapped boat. I am certainly not advocating an "everyone for themselves" attitude on the river, and I do help out when assistance is needed or solicited. It's river people taking care of river people and that is one of the beautiful things about this activity. But, neither do I complain if I do happen upon a situation where I feel comfortable helping out, and subsequently get involved. CRC shouldn't complain about its perhaps too freely-offered assistance either. That's a choice CRC has made.

Again, I appreciate the well-intentioned efforts of the Long family to make Staircase safer, but I'm with others when we get to the bottom line — the question of altering the rapid. Making the boating community aware of a hazard that has become serious is a very large first step. And yes, we have Tom Long to thank for that. My opinion is let’s leave the rock where it is for now. Let's try education and perhaps some additional signage first and see if that helps reduce the number of wraps, and the resulting risk of taking a swim above Dean’s Rock.

Mike Stewart

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