Messing around on the South Fork of the American - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-30-2004   #1
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
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Messing around on the South Fork of the American

check this out
somebody was playing around in the South Fork...

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Old 07-30-2004   #2
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What a bunch of babies. I have done this run and it's not that hairy.
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Old 07-31-2004   #3
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I agree with cosurfgod. If they are going to call that rapid class 4- and over rate it as much as they do whats wrong with a nice big hole at the top of it. maybe now the rapid is a little more appropriately named. but damn what a good play boating run.
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Old 07-31-2004   #4
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Let me get ths straight: Someone dumped some huge boulders in a rapid and made a good sized hole.

The rafting companies are all upset because a bunch of rafts have flipped and some clients even got injured. It does sound like they have a valid complaint and someone screwed up. Not sure how bad the injuries are.

But, some of you think the new rapid still isn't that hard??

Yea, it sucks having to share the river. I wish everyone kayaked as good or bad as me.

It does sound like bad etiquette and a bad precedent to start playing god.
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Old 08-01-2004   #5
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As far as I can tell, no one has been affected by this change in any kind of serious way. There are no documented injuries, and no one has actually said they flipped a raft. Yeah, it sets a bad precidence, but its far from playing God, as you put it. It might make the rapid slightly harder, but any hole that is good to play in, isn't going to make the rapid that much harder. It just adds one more feature you have to deal with. Its not like they created some huge stompy pourover. I haven't seen it, as no one has posted pictures, but I seriously doubt its any worse then some of the other holes on the run (as I recall, triple threat is a good decent sized playhole). Not sure if you know the run, but if the hole is where I think it is, it runs into flatwater just below. Can't see where someone would get hurt in that situation any more then they would normally.

Josh H.
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Old 08-02-2004   #6
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Frankly, I think you are missing the point. The main concerns seem to be 1) foot entrapments from the “rock wall” that was created, 2) what effects this will have on future river projects and 3) the ethics of altering the river for ones own pleasure. The first issue is obvious, and the second is to complicated for me to write intelligently about. Ethics and river rights are interesting topics that raise a few questions.

Sure rivers are in a constant state of natural change, but is it fair for a few individuals to impose there will on the rest of the river community? What if the additional rocks made Troublemaker into a true class IV? This is one of the most popular class III runs in California. How does this affect new or weekend boaters who aren’t skilled enough or are not interested in running a class IV? Are they supposed to portage or not get on the river because of the actions of a few individuals?

Also where does this stop? If adding a few rocks to create a hole for play boaters is acceptable, why isn’t removing a few rocks to make a run easier for beginners acceptable? (Example: There would be less carnage on Three Rocks, if one of the large boulders were removed. What would the reaction of the Colorado boating community be if this happened?)

Yes I am up on my soapbox, but whether we like it our not we share the rivers. It is this exact concept (sharing) that is overlooked each time a dam is constructed.
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Old 08-02-2004   #7
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I realize what the issues are with this situation, but its still getting blown out of proportion. Most of the people are thinking of the worst, and I really don't think its as bad as they think. I get the feeling that for about a month this will be a big deal, and then people will calm down and cease to care. If its really that big of a problem, then some other people can "impose their will" on the river again and move the rocks back out or to a better spot. Yeah, it was a retarded thing to do, and I am sure that the guys who did it, know it. I am far from advocating this, though I can't say that I have never participated in add small rocks to divert water into a hole. Hell, a group of guys in Vail brought like 50 sandbags to the hole at the bottom of the Dowd Chutes and no one cared. I still have yet to hear of any real cause for concern for this issue. It makes the run slightly harder. It does set bad precidents, but at the same time the more we blow it out of proportion, the more likely this will cause a problem for river use in the future. The guys who did it are certainly going to be punished even without doing anything legal to them, as it sounds like a boycott of their video services is in effect for most people in Coloma, plus I'm sure they have enough guilt and ridicule within their own circle to set them straight in future endeavours. People make silly selfish decisions sometimes, but we just gotta deal. Unfortunetly this time it effects alot of people. Oh well.

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Old 08-02-2004   #8
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Good reply josh,

Its frustrating to hear about people selfishly making decisions that affect the masses. I don't think this is an issue just to ignore, but I don't want this issue to blow up to a point where building a kayaking park (which benefits many) would become a debate.

On a side note, I would love to see a few more play holes in boulder creek, but now would that affect the tubers.
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Old 08-02-2004   #9
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I learned to boat on the SF of the American and I did my first "combat roll" in Troublemaker. The South Fork of the American is one of the most litigated rivers that is regularly run by the general population, and it is the river that sees the most user-days on the West Coast. There are locals who would LOVE to end the boating there and there are LOTS of boater folks there who have worked very hard to keep the river accessible and to try to bridge the gap between the boaters and the "regular" community there. These kind of stunts make it a lot harder to keep the fences mended for the boating community in general and for the boating activists in particular. It sounds like the people that made the alteration will get what's coming to them, but the trouble that this kind of vigilante action can cause in that locale should not be minimized.
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Old 08-02-2004   #10
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Well, just in case anyone who hasn't boated there, is curious as to what Troublemaker is...
There are videos and pictures of it on these three webpages.
Is that the hole that has been changed on the third link here, the video clip at the bottom of the page with the guy swimming through head first?

I would be curious to see images of it after the changes, if anyone has put any online.
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