Update on Salmon River blockage
Here is the latest from the Idaho Falls Post Register this morning:
A logjam is blocking the Salmon River in the middle of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.
The U.S. Forest Service said Thursday that the Black Creek drainage on the Main Salmon River had blown out sometime around April 1.
The blowout hit the river roughly a half-mile below Salmon Falls, creating a new rapid. Slack water above the new rapid completely covers Salmon Falls, one of the famed rapids on the river.
Trees and other woody debris blown out of the Black Creek drainage have blocked the river approximately one-eighth of a mile below the new rapid, making the river impassable.
There are no floaters on the Salmon River at this time, the Forest Service said in the news release.
North Fork District Ranger Russ Bacon has decided the current situation does not warrant Forest Service action right now. "As there are currently no values at risk, we'll wait and see what happens in high water," he said in a news release. "Hopefully the logjam will be opened up and the new rapid will be somewhat modified to make for easier running."
Jim O'Connor, owner of the Arctic Creek Lodge, which is about a half-mile above the new rapid, said the logjam isn't affecting business right now. He believes high water will bust the logjam loose, but he worries about the new rapid changing his business. "If I can't run that rapid, it could really affect my business," he said. "Right now, I don't know what is going to happen." Like the Forest Service, O'Connor said he is going to wait and see what happens when high water hits in June.
In 2006, the Forest Service used explosives to clear a large logjam that had completely blocked the Middle Fork of Salmon River at the Pistol Creek Rapid. In that case, nearly 350 boaters, who had launched before the logjam occurred, were trapped above the obstacle, necessitating the use of dynamite.