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Old 10-15-2010   #81
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
Mike pretty much covered it, and I'll just go back to what I've said before, which is that to bring up examples of other places to justify removal is disingenuous. Now other situations can be used to learn from, but if you are just throwing them out to justify your position, and they aren't applicable to the situation at hand, I don't think those examples are relevant.

You can argue back and forth, and each side can find examples to support their position (where a protected river was changed, and where it wasn't), so it is fruitless and does no justice to the issue at hand.

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 10-15-2010   #82
Provo, Utah
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 114
So many twisted pairs of panties on this thread. Just an observation... please continue .

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Old 10-15-2010   #83
catboatkeith's Avatar
Hoback Nation, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 141
I'm staying out of this one for the most part, but I came across this fitting Quote:

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure."
Helen Keller
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Old 10-15-2010   #84
Droboat's Avatar
Wild Wild West, Colorado
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 214
Stop the Madness - Leave the Rock

It should be without debate among river runners that rivers should be left to run their own course. Period.

Our rivers can never get back to their task of making their own way across and through the landscape until the arrogant, bulldozer-fascinated, desk- calculator-loving, Disney-emulating, enemies-of-all-things-natural are made to let the rivers run themselves.
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Old 10-18-2010   #85
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 403
I don't see any reason to not make the rapid better. Safer but also a bigger hit and more exciting. These roadside rapids were so hugely altered during road construction that making it a super fun Class IV rapid makes it more like it used to be. Make it safe and make it fun. The people are right that there is no difference in doing a WW play park and doing a Class 3-4 Rapid Running Park. We need more Rapid running Parks.

Also making a creeking park like 6 Dub in Utah, right here . This creeking park is super fun and relatively safe. 25 people ran it Saturday at 32 cfs (perfect flow).

Idaho could build a bunch of these.
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Old 10-18-2010   #86
SonOfASailor555's Avatar
Cascade, Idaho
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6
I respectively disagree. As others have said ... the next step will then be to take the rough edges off of the North Fork and make it one continuous class IV sluice box. Concerns right now about Juicer and work the Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad is undertaking to clear a big rock slide right above it.
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Old 10-19-2010   #87
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 57
I definitely oppose altering any natural rapid to make boating safer. I am also generally opposed to altering hazards created by the actions of man, particularly if these hazardous resulted from actions not directly related to streambed alteration (e.g., blast rock found in many, many rivers from road or railbed construction) and especially if those hazards were in-place before people started whitewater activities on said river. Further, I agree with those that have said USACE erred in trying to put the rapid back together (so to speak) after the 2001 mudslide.

That being said, from what I can discern, this case is somewhat unique. USACE put the rock in what they "thought" was about the right place (i.e. where some rock previously existed, hard to know if it is the exact same rock that was there prior to the landslide). In doing so, USACE unwittingly created a dangerous sieve that did not previously exist on a section of river that had been boated for many, many years prior to this alteration. Therefore, I don't see this rock as being substantially different than the crumbling dam with rebar alluded to above or a large block of concrete placed unnaturally in the river bed. While I do not support actual removal of the rock, given the circumstances, I cannot oppose filling in the sieve as a reasonable action. There are ways to do this so that the material does not move (think large rocks wedged in and oriented so as to be held in place by the flow). Though I think it less desireable than filling the sieve because it seems there is more of a potential for unintended consequences, I can't really oppose rotating the rock 180 degrees if that gets rid of the sieve hazard. Who knows maybe that's the way the rock should have been placed in the first place.

This may sound like situational ethics to some, but I see it as a pragmatic approach to a hazard recently-created by USACE's actions and don't see it as a slippery slope leading to removal of hazards on other rivers.

"It's All Good"
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Old 10-27-2010   #88
Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 488

Taming the River Wild

Proposals to make rapids safer raise raft of questions News - From the October 25, 2010 issue of High Country News by Sarah Gilman

Updated 10/19/10
There's a boulder in Staircase Rapid on the South Fork of Idaho's Payette River that can kill you.
If you spill from a raft upstream on the left side of the river, you might get channeled to the boulder's submerged undercut face, where the water could suck you into a dangerous sieve. River guide Dean Fairburn drowned here in 2007. Some 15 to 20 rafts wrap here every season, according to commercial outfitter Chad Long, who co-manages Cascade Raft and Kayak with his extended family.
But with the river low this fall because of work on an upstream dam, Chad's father, Tom Long, saw an opportunity. Could the boulder be moved to make the rapid safer? It's not exactly natural, anyway: The Army Corps of Engineers reconstructed the run after a mudslide here blocked the river in 2001. So Tom got a stream-alteration permit from the state -- and kicked off a heated discussion within the whitewater community.

see the rest here Taming the River Wild — High Country News
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Old 10-29-2010   #89
Ogden, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 44
Never paddled Staircase, but that doesn't matter.

Time for a history lesson. Anyone remember the Gros Ventre landslide? (Pronounced Grow-Vawnt) Of course you don't, it happened in 1925, in Wyoming, on the Gros Ventre River. Huge landslide, dammed the river, eventually filled, dam failed, wiped out a town and a few people. Today, the lower river section, emmidately below the natural lake, is supposedly a very entertaining Class IV.

Point is, the Army corps guys should have never touched the river channel in the first place. Clear the road, slightly modify the natural dam to allow it to settle into a stable state, slowly drain and reform a river channel- leave the river alone- in it's natural state. Yes, a landslide is a natural event including whatever it alters. If Staircase became a Class V knee-knock fest, so be it.

At this point, we've allready modified the river enough to not call it natural, so the subject of 'modification' is moot. Remember this lesson for the future.
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Old 10-29-2010   #90
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
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Originally Posted by Stuntmonkey View Post
At this point, we've allready modified the river enough to not call it natural, so the subject of 'modification' is moot. Remember this lesson for the future.
It absolutely is not moot, any more than questioning old practices in mining, forestry, industry, etc. Just because we did it before doesn't mean we should continue doing it. In general, as a population, we have slowly moved towards understanding the benefits of leaving mother nature alone as much as possible. I don't recall anyone on this post, or anywhere else on this discussion, claim that the river is completely natural. The future is now and the lessons were in the past. Will we continue to repeat them? Unfortunately the answer seems to frequently be yes. For such an intelligent species, we sure are stupid.

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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