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Old 02-19-2014   #1
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,928
Cataract: Boat Ramp Issues

I pulled my question from a different thread to respect the OP's intention.

What is the point of protesting the current issue for Cataract Canyon ramps?

I ask because from a historical understanding of Lake Powell I do not see many solutions that will not cost the boating community significant $$ in the short and long run. They have increased the permit fees in the Park but that has been universal from what I can tell (i.e. we are not targeted as a user group for specific costs). The reality is that averaging $25 a head for private use on a 5-7 day river trip seems rather cheap for access and permitting in a national park.

What types of solutions do people expect considering:

1) the major fluctuations in lake levels at Hite and the unpredictable nature of inflows to the region
2) the nasty substrate in which the takeouts are now located....i.e. river silt from impounding the flow of the Colorado. Not exactly an ideal medium for building modern boat ramps on.
3) the annual cost that would be required to provide a more convenient takeout that would likely need changing on a regular basis

Maybe I am missing something here but considering the complexity of the issue the current solution seems adequate. Willing to be persuaded otherwise.


restrac2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2014   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
Good conversation. I'll play along.

From a kayaker, and user fee perspective, the current ramp is adequate... but, you posted this in the rafter forum, and the boat ramp is pretty weak given the amount of (large/heavy) raft traffic for that section of river.

Given the current operation of Reservoir Powell, your points are all valid, which brings up the larger conversation of how to manage Reservoir Powell and other reservoirs on the Colorado River.

If we (as society as a whole) agreed Powell would likely never be filled again, or shouldn't, then it may be a great investment to redo the boat ramps. There is already talk of draining Reservoir Powell to fill Reservoir Mead, and perhaps the new status quo would become to keep Mead as full as possible, and Powell less so. There are many pros to this, limiting evaporation loss at the top of the list. Permanently lowering the maximum elevation level in Powell (designating full pool status at an elevation below the takeout) would solve issue #1, and to some extent issue #3.

As for issue #2, I figure if the silt build up remains dry for long enough, then a primitive (dirt/gravel) boat ramp would work okay.

Multiple reservoir expansion projects are underway in Colorado, so what little water we have naturally, we are capturing closer to the bulk of our populations (or more likely, pumping from the Colorado drainage headwaters east to the metro areas). The likelihood of Powell ever reaching it's historical full pool level seems slim as our population and water demand increases throughout the western US.

Curious as to others thoughts.
Kyle McCutchen
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