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Old 01-12-2013   #11
Plunk your magic twanger!
Gremlin's Avatar
New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,105
I found the BLM to be very vague and disconnectecd regarding the El Vado releases. They told me the BOR was going to do whatever they do and they don't communicate with the BLM. They couldn't even tell me who I might contact with the BOR to inquire of their scheduled releases. Not like the good communication that we see shared on the Buzz about the Navajo operations on the San Juan.

That said, Eileen with the BLM, was great and shared our excitement at the check-in about our flows and camps. She said she hadn't gotten to go down recently and seemed ready to jump on our rafts and join us. Her enthusiasm was contagious and we had a great time!

Overall, my experience left me feeling like it is simply a more laid-back scene and they would like to keep it that way. If you are fortunate enough to score a permit, find a crew that will appreciate the experience and try to not let anything stop you.

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Old 01-12-2013   #12
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407
Same here as far as the ladies in the Taos BLM office. They have helped us out more than once. Very nice folks!

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Old 01-12-2013   #13
cadster's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
In the past, if you contacted Mary Carlson ( ) at ABQ BOR, she'd then email you the Chama flow outlook on an almost weekly basis in the summer.
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Old 01-16-2013   #14
Eagle, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 46
Permit Application

Hi all, I floated the Chama many years ago...20 to be exact and would like to do it again. The BLM website is vague as to obtaining a permit though. It says "the postcard" shoud be filled out completely by adult 18 years or older but I can't find a link to the application postcard or whatever. Can someone please help me so I can try to apply for a permit, thanks!!!
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Old 01-16-2013   #15
don't bogart that
rpludwig's Avatar
Frosted Flakes N of Baytuckey, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 180
Postcard will become your permit

Call them,Taos BLM office, and have them send you the postcard, but get it back to them by the end of the month
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Old 01-16-2013   #16
Eagle, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 46
Thanks, just called and left voicemail
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Old 01-18-2013   #17
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
I like earlier, April/May, for the water, wildlife, and solitude. I am sad to hear the cabin burned down, that place was neat.
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Old 01-18-2013   #18
Issip's Avatar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 185
El Vado at 5%

Just an FYI- El Vado lake is at ~5% capacity, and 12% of last year's level - they drained it last summer. Heron lake is well below 50% capacity, so there's no capacity to refill El Vado. On top of that, snowpack in the watershed is at ~65% of last year so far (as of Jan 17), and last year was a dismal year for runoff.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, I love the Chama and had a lot of fun last year, but this year doesn't look very good at all.

They will likely have some weekend releases, but the irrigation releases are going to come from Abique this year, downstream of the wilderness canyon. I'm thinking this year may be the year to do Whiterock canyon, I just need to figure out a shuttle arrangement...

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