This was just sent out to the YahooGroup "idahowhitewater." Not my post, just thought I'd share.
[idahowhitewater] Why the Boundary Cr. road is not open
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 11:01 AM
The Forrest Service won't issue a permit to River Outfitters to plow the road this year.
Here is my understanding:
The FS has completely changed their requirements this year and have come up with reasons why they won't issue a permit and requirements that hinder outfitters from plowing the road.
Historically outfitters have put up a $1,000.00 bond with the FS in order to obtain a permit, then paid to have someone from Stanley or Hailey punch through the deep spots. Cutting a single lane has always worked in the past - the dirt road radiates heat and within a few days the snow melts back on both lanes. Have you ever driven on a one lane road at any point in your life? You stop, look for oncoming traffic and proceed slowly, right? It works.
This year the FS won't issue a permit unless both lanes are completely cleared for "safety reasons." I think a safety flagger was suggested at one point - like at road construction sites. Really?
Even if multiple outfitters pitch in to pay to have both lanes opened (there are seven outfitters with trips next week who are willing to pay and actively asking for a permit) the FS won't let anyone drive on the road until the FS road engineer inspects the work. To me, it sounds like they want their spring road maintenance costs covered by someone else....
One of the more recent FS block-out rationales is that if the road is opened there still won't be anyone at Boundary to check for the quagga mussel stickers. All outfitters have the stickers (for boats that never even leave the state, but just make circles all summer on the MF), so is the FS actually worried about privates not having the stickers? What about all the folks launching on Marsh Creek right now? Who's checking them? Right.....
It cost one outfitter $2600 to fly into Indian Creek last week (good for http://sawtoothflying.com
) - that same outfitter contributes about $18,000/ year to the FS in user access fees! ($4/person/day + 3% of gross)
Last week was a 4 day trip. With six day trips starting next week, and the water cranking along at six feet, those are going to be 5 minute days on the water (I hope you understanding that is an exaggeration - but not by much) and camp sites could get jammed up - in other words the FS is intentionally jamming together groups that would otherwise be spread out across the entire 100 miles.
With the road currently closed, more private boaters are going to be motivated to use Marsh Creek - remember a few years back when there were a couple deaths on Marsh Creek?
My personal opinion is that the FS is not issuing a road plowing permit largely for the same reason that they decided not to re-issue August cancelations to privates - they don't want people to access the river.*
The FS can't dangle a private boater's livelihood or job over their heads like they can with outfitters and guides. If you are a private boater and you have a June launch date, and you want to launch at Boundary Cr., why don't you just get together with other private groups and just go cut in a single lane after 5p.m. like a group of Colorado boaters have done the last couple of years? Just like the no reissuing of August cancellations, this is something that many privates boaters and outfitters can agree is a crock of sh... oh, wait better keep this a "G" rated forum.
Life is Grand!
watch ex-Middle Fork Guide Jim Norton's eye-opening film:
*The reason I think that the cancellation re-issuing question is only partially about Salmon is because the biologist calling for the new rule admitted that the 4 lower snake dams are the actual problem preventing Idaho Salmon from recovery. The FS has been looking for excuses to reduce use since 1998 - ironically if an outfitter doesn't use a launch date the FS threatens to take that launch date away and re allocate to another outfitter for "lack of use" What????