Greetings Fellow Travelers:
Here is a little reminder that there are only a couple of days left to apply for permits to raft the Upper Salt River in Arizona, as well as many of the rivers in the west. Sorry this reminder is coming to you so late, but I was out of touch in furghloughlandia. The application period closes January 31st, so don’t delay if you wish to apply. To do so go to rec.gov and search for Salt River Canyon Wilderness Permit.
Here are some websites if you want to check up on our snow pack, flows, or weather:
The website for SNOTEL data is: http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/
For the Salt River, under Snow (SNOTEL and Snow Course) click on “Data”. Click on “Daily SWE Report-Current Water Year: By SNOTEL Site”. Click on the drop-down list of states for Arizona and then scroll down to the “Hannigan Meadows” site. Simple, no? Sometimes I also look at “Baldy” which is also in the Salt River Basin. The historic values are also on this site if you want to compare to other years.
For website for current streamflow data in Arizona is: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/az/nwis/current/?type=flow
Scroll down to the Salt River Basin. The put-in is “Salt River Near Chrysotile” and the take-out is “Salt River Near Roosevelt”.
If you want someone smarter than me to predict the river level, this is the website for the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center: http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/
Click on the blue dot for “SLC: Salt, Chrysotile, NR” and view the forecast. Click on the forecast if you wish to change the parameters of the prediction.
I usually look at the weather forecast for the coming week on this webpage right before I leave town: http://www.weather.com/maps/planner
Or there is this colorful one from NOAA: http://www.goes.noaa.gov/goes-w.html
Currently, at Hannagan Meadows the SNOTEL is showing 6.9 inches of snow water equivalent (swe). This is an El-Nino year, which typically helps out the Upper Salt River Basin snow pack, and we seem to be on the storm track to some degree. They are calling for a storm this weekend and I have a pretty good feeling that, with all of February to go, we should end up with 10 to 15 inches swe, giving us a fair to good season when March rolls around. Of course, I continue to be wrong about things I predict with ridiculous frequency.
As a point of comparison, in 2017 we peaked out at 10 inches swe and it was above 1,000 cfs for all of March (peaking around 2,000), and above 500 for most of April.
If you are going to apply, thanks in advance for the portion of your application fee that we get use to run our small, happy, effective river crew.
Thanks, and good luck.
Forest Service Shield
Don R. Sullivan
Wilderness River Manager