Moving Rock In Tunnel, Poudre - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-09-2011   #1
 
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Moving Rock In Tunnel, Poudre

A potentially interesting discussion I think, a cousin to the chat about dynamiting Frog Rock on the Ark after the girl passed last year.

What do you all think? Is it ethical to move obstacles that are dangerous/challenging/damaging? Myself, I see both sides. It's a slippery slope to start moving things in the river. Rafts are expensive though, and this is not a significant feature. Seems kind of reactionary to immediately say no, based on an inflexible ideology, while altering my home river in any way troubles me.

Does the Wild and Scenic designation have any thing to do with this?

Benson

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Old 08-09-2011   #2
 
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I see both sides of this one too. What is the nature of the rock? Is it blast rock form road construction? Is this thing really slicing up boats left and right?

Can you wade out to it and actually see the sharp part?
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Old 08-09-2011   #3
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The rock is probably from the tunnel blasting, it is part of one of two piles made by the tunnel builders. It likely turned this year and has seriously damaged 5 commercial rafts in a week. It's also easy to see and easy to go around.

I won't be a part of changing it, but kind of hope someone else hammers it down this winter....
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Old 08-09-2011   #4
 
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I let my thoughts be known in the other thread so this post may even be a response to me, but my opinion is not "reactionary" or based on an "inflexible ideology." I've thought about this issue for a number of years and in this instance there is just no justifiable reason to mess with it. It may be road blast and yes the river gets modified all the time, by it's own forces and sometimes by the highway department or to build a playpark etc, but once we move down the road to modifying rapids because they are dangerous or damaging to raft equipment it is indeed a slippery slope. Next thing you know somebody will be blasting the rock wall out of the bottom of Cool World because it's a dangerous rapid with it in there and someone might break their boat on it.

It is a natural obstacle, is easy to avoid, and will only be a problem during a small flow window. We should not be in the business of river modification for the purposes of making a rapid less dangerous or damaging to raft equipment. If you know it's there, the river is wide and it is super easy to avoid it.
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Old 08-09-2011   #5
 
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I agree with Evan, do not move the rock in Tunnel (Crystal Wall). I have guided for 15+ seasons commercially on the Poudre and always felt it was a great training ground for solid guides. Through the years I have seen plenty of Poudre guides who have just memorized the lines. When they get on a different river or stretch they don't seem to know how to read the river. I haven't seen it yet, but it seems at 2.6 the wall is really super pushy an even if you start out farther left making the move shouldn't be that difficult, this is a class IV run after all. Go up and scout the rapid, use your river reading skills and make it around the rock. I agree that rafts are expensive, but river's like the Poudre are priceless! Lets keep it that way.
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Old 08-09-2011   #6
 
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Hope it's not a picket fence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randaddy View Post

I won't be a part of changing it, but kind of hope someone else hammers it down this winter....
Wow... how far up your patoot are you going to let that fence post go? Honestly, if you "hope" someone changes it then throw your support behind it rather than encourage a scapegoat.

As far as I'm concerned, if you can take a hammer to it then do so. It's not like the roads and bridges are OK to build and use, but to chip off a raft slasher is somehow taboo. Building a new boat ramp or improving the shoreline is somehow OK but making this boulder smooth enough isn't? If you so much as drive up that road, you're "a part of" the changing river.
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Old 08-09-2011   #7
 
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I agree with Hojo. If it's a matter of breaking off a small part of that rock, then no big deal. It's no major change to the river. We remove wood from creeks all of the time; no one is bothered by that. I am not in favor of any significant river modifications however.

R-2ing this tonight. Benson (or anyone else) - join us and make it R-3.
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Old 08-09-2011   #8
 
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Actually many fisheries biologists are bothered by removing wood from the river and there have been cases on a Poudre tributary where too much wood was removed and fish habitat was destroyed. When removing wood, if possible, the best scenario is to cut a boat passage and not to clear the wood entirely, especially in flat or low gradient stretches where the wood causes pools and large eddys to form.

That aside, it is an ethical consideration and though Randy's stance is comical it outlines the situation quite well. I don't want the rafts to get destroyed, not my intention, but I can not condone modifying the river for that reason. I'm not in charge of the highway department so I have no jurisdiction to keep them from dumping rocks in the river. They have deemed that keeping the road safe is a legitimate reason to modify the river. As a community, I believe we should deem that a rapid being dangerous or damaging is NOT a reason to modify the river.
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Old 08-09-2011   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverWrangler View Post

That aside, it is an ethical consideration and though Randy's stance is comical it outlines the situation quite well. I don't want the rafts to get destroyed, not my intention, but I can not condone modifying the river for that reason. I'm not in charge of the highway department so I have no jurisdiction to keep them from dumping rocks in the river. They have deemed that keeping the road safe is a legitimate reason to modify the river. As a community, I believe we should deem that a rapid being dangerous or damaging is NOT a reason to modify the river.
My point is at a slightly higher level. It's hypocritical of us to suggest that modifying the river for safety is any different than modifying it for access. If we (myself including) decide to use the road then we are condoning the modification of the river as a result of having the road. The ethics are much broader than simply the modification of a singular feature. We do have limited control over the highway department just as we have control over the use of our resources. We, as a community, drive up the road to access the river. That action is only possible through the direct manipulation of the river. We all desire that such access does not negatively impact the river, of course.

I cannot claim that it is categorically unethical to change this rock based on my own use of the river and surrounding infrastructure. I can state that, if knocking off a sharp point is doable and the forest service will do it then I will support it based on my perception of the consequences.
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Old 08-09-2011   #10
 
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It is an interesting philosophical conundrum. To modify or not to modify, that is the question. As someone whose job reuires frequent and substantial modification to the riverbed, it would be hypocritical of me to come out against said actions. However, I do oppose single minded allterations for the good of a small interest group without considering the broader impacts to river function and aquatic habitat. I am also opposed to modification to "pristine" river beds where previous anthropogenic influence has not occured. We like to work in degraded reaches where human influence is present. Luckily these are easy to find as hydro-modification is one of the most influential human actions that significantly alters channel morphology. Such is the case on the Poudre, not to mention the impacts of putting a highway along the majority of the river corridor. Given these preexisting modifications I don't see why one should not make slight changes to a single boulder in this rapid to reduce boat damage and to moderate a potential physical hazard as well. Wouldn't a 12 pack and a sledge hammer resolve the issue?
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