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So the corona has hit the Salmon river systems. Info I have gathered and suggestions to stay healthy.

Several outfitters have apparently closed for the season. I can confirm Canyons which has permits on the Middle Fork and the Main has definitely closed for the year. As I confirm other closures I will try to check back in. At least two other outfitters had to cancel trips while guides where quarantining for two weeks.

Cancellations will not be reissued on either river effective a few days ago.
This from the Forest Service on both home pages for rivers.

"""Due to recent positive COVID-19 cases associated with river trips and an increase of cases in local communities, the state of Idaho, and nationwide, cancelled permits will no longer be released for the remainder of the 2020 control season. This will allow for increased social distancing on the river and reduce potential exposure on the river and in the local communities that serve both rivers. While this is not ideal, we hope this measure helps ensure that the rivers remain open for the remainder of the control season."""

One outfitter I talked to this morning thinks the Corn Creek launch site ( and to a lesser extent all the other launch sites and take outs) may be one major source of virus spread. There is no FS presence of any type. He reported some groups are doing it right, keeping their distance and wearing masks around others and there are lots of people shoulder to shoulder, partying on the ramp and generally acting like it's any other river trip. He is suggesting people avoid the restrooms at any location. The norovirus a few years back was primarily spread thru the bathrooms and I would be surprised if this one wasn't as well. His ideas: Set up your own groover at the ramp (privacy shelter?), rig away from other people. Set up handwash at the ramp. Don't arrive midday at the takeouts, come in at 4 or 5 pm. Probably the best suggestion is to come in the day of your launch. As in don't even camp at the put in.

Blackadar Boating closed completely under a self-quarantine until August 8th or 9th. They had a driver (not one of their main shuttle guys if I remember right) working on the long shuttles test positive. Using extreme caution they self-quarantined. All Main Salmon shuttles are cancelled thru the end of August, when they will reevaluate.

Limit your exposure people. This shit is serious.
 

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We launch in mid-August. I visited yesterday with some of the river staff. I'm sure its much worse on the unrestricted rivers. I did ask specifically if there is any evidence of covid spreading by the use of the same camps by different groups and they said no. Wish we could put politics aside and deal with this like other developed countries.
 

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I did ask specifically if there is any evidence of covid spreading by the use of the same camps by different groups and they said no.
My understanding is that the main transmission method from being in close proximity to others for several minutes. That's not to say someone could catch it from a surface if another has wiped a snotty hand on it, but it seems likely that it would be spread by people using the same ramp or camps unless they're getting close to each other.
 

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My understanding is that the main transmission method from being in close proximity to others for several minutes. That's not to say someone could catch it from a surface if another has wiped a snotty hand on it, but it seems likely that it would be spread by people using the same ramp or camps unless they're getting close to each other.
Ok but other than touch transmission, think about FS bathrooms at the launch. Fairly small, no active ventilation usually. Spending a couple to several minutes after someone else has spent a couple to several minutes after someone else.....you get the idea. Don't discount the touch transmission, maybe not as efficient as breathing right into your lungs but still evidence to support this. How many times do you see handwash out at the ramp?
 

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Visited with a river ranger a couple hours ago, they don't have evidence to believe its spreading at the launch or takeout except that these are congested areas. She didn't say this but if it were, sounds like they could take more drastic measures than not offering up cancelations. Recommendation was to minimize time at these locations and follow CDC recommendations. Each boat in our party will come on a trailer so our plan is to stop and fully rig before we get to the launch. Then we can minimize time there. We also have to stay the night before the launch due to the distance but plan on leaving the launch area to find a place to stay. Interesting times.

This brings a question on what are folks doing at camp to minimize covid spread?
 

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Thanks for the info carvedog. We just got off the main salmon on July 24th. For our launch day and our takeout day, we hung back and were the last to launch and the last to take down on the boat ramps, and consequently had the boat ramps to ourselves which made it easier to distance from others. I would agree about being cautious about the forest service bathrooms, even if it may not be the most likely way of getting covid.

The other thing to emphasize is to be cautious traveling to and from the river through small communities. They don't want us to spread the virus to them, but also, in many places (ie Salmon Idaho), people in gas stations and businesses do not care to wear masks. So I'd suggest limiting your time and exposure to inside businesses to only what is required (bathroom breaks on the road I had my kids go with me so we could avoid being close to others as a family team).

I think the biggest point of emphasis is to make sure that everybody gets to the river without being sick. I told my group that if anyone in their family arrived and had any symptoms, that their whole family would not be going, even if we had already arrived at the river. I think this helped families that were coming focus for the last several weeks before the trip and be very careful. Families drove up in separate cars and socially distanced as much as possible on the river. Everyone stayed healthy and we had a blast.
 

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Errata: I hate wearing a mask. However, 2 of my cousins survived Covid; and one did not. Next week I'm due for open heart bypass surgery. My wife and I are old geezers. Ancient boaters. ANYbody who even THINKS of coming into our house withOUT a mask at this time is OUT of our Will. If they persist they are told to "Get off my porch!"
 

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think about FS bathrooms at the launch. Fairly small, no active ventilation usually. Spending a couple to several minutes after someone else has spent a couple to several minutes after someone else.....you get the idea.
Eeeeewwwww. Not something I really wanted to think about and I'm sorry I did now that you mention it. I may be wrong but I thought I read someplace there's a ton of the virus in poop and thus chance of transmission that way. OK, now I'm thoroughly grossed out....
 
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Eeeeewwwww. Not something I really wanted to think about and I'm sorry I did now that you mention it. I may be wrong but I thought I read someplace there's a ton of the virus in poop and thus chance of transmission that way. OK, now I'm thoroughly grossed out....
Don't wipe your butt and pick your nose with the same hand.
And the next time you hold a sandwich ... just think where that hand has been.
Aseptic (sterile) hand washing and kitchen practices save a whole lot of pain and misery.
 

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I think the biggest point of emphasis is to make sure that everybody gets to the river without being sick. I told my group that if anyone in their family arrived and had any symptoms, that their whole family would not be going, even if we had already arrived at the river. I think this helped families that were coming focus for the last several weeks before the trip and be very careful. Families drove up in separate cars and socially distanced as much as possible on the river. Everyone stayed healthy and we had a blast.
Good points and brings up the issue of being not too dependent on others for gear and food. One would almost have to plan on being self support oriented even on a large group trip. My opinion for what it's worth.
 

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I just got home, and I can throw in my 2 cents worth. In Northern Idaho there is 0 social distancing and masks. River trips are just impossible. You are there to have fun and enjoy the outdoors, masks are just not part of that. At Pungo Creek a tour group hiked together, and they were made to wear masks in the mine. However they hike 2 feet apart, and we had to mix with them to pass. I do not buy all the cool aid, nor believe our financial ruin is worth stopping COVID spread, and some evidence shows it has not worked well. Nor am I fine with mysterious evidence of spread on the river but no data to back it up. However, as a bureaucrat you could not ignore the fact that massive groups on the river from all over the country are not being cautious at all. The Middle Fork was jammed with raft companies, the main was nearly empty. Most likely an out of work or disgruntled employee raised issues.
 

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This brings a question on what are folks doing at camp to minimize covid spread?
Frankly, good sanitary camp practices to prevent norovirus should also tend to help spread coronaviruses.
Middle trip we had two handwash stations--one at the groover, one at the kitchen, plus hand sanitizer at the kitchen. TL elected to have everyone bring their own dishware...but we ended up washing in the same dish line. I don't think that made as much of a difference.

Main trip we ran two handwash stations, plus available hand sanitizer. No special effort for distancing under the wing during the torrential rains.

Trips were during the re-opening before the 2nd spike. Haven't heard that any of my tripmates on either trip have gotten sick since.


I just got home, and I can throw in my 2 cents worth. In Northern Idaho there is 0 social distancing and masks. River trips are just impossible. You are there to have fun and enjoy the outdoors, masks are just not part of that. At Pungo Creek a tour group hiked together, and they were made to wear masks in the mine. However they hike 2 feet apart, and we had to mix with them to pass. I do not buy all the cool aid, nor believe our financial ruin is worth stopping COVID spread, and some evidence shows it has not worked well. Nor am I fine with mysterious evidence of spread on the river but no data to back it up. However, as a bureaucrat you could not ignore the fact that massive groups on the river from all over the country are not being cautious at all.
While I agree with your political reasoning, I've become more fastitious about washing my hands and not touching my face.
as I noted above, it still makes sense for staving off norovirus and other more common bugs.
 

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Back in the day ... when viruses were either the flu-bug, pneumonia or the cold, I arrived at the put-in of a 4-day class II drift feeling positively rowzy. I mean, plumb awful. After some discussion, the entire party chipped in and bought me a big bottle of a very good Single-Malt, made a nest for me in the bow of a 16' Avon Pro, wadded me up and stuffed me in there for the duration. That's all I remember about that trip. I would have felt awful anyway, but I was among real friends who are with me to this day. Now in my age, I am grateful for old friends. Take care of them. It takes too long to make 'em. With the Coronavirus that means a whole 'nother protocol, but the premise remains: take care of your friends and neighbors first. Hopefully, they'll be with you long after the thrill of that perfect wave has sunk into the afternoon of history, the twilight of tradition, and the long, dark night of oblivion. Day and night, for all the years, that old river has been rolling on to the sea.
 

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An August 9th trip is now up for grab's for the Main Salmon!!! The optics of not re-issuing cancelled trips must have looked bad, since the river corridor was still open anyhow for active trips - both private and commercial.

I looked for the previous notification (below) and it no longer show's up.

("""Due to recent positive COVID-19 cases associated with river trips and an increase of cases in local communities, the state of Idaho, and nationwide, cancelled permits will no longer be released for the remainder of the 2020 control season. This will allow for increased social distancing on the river and reduce potential exposure on the river and in the local communities that serve both rivers. While this is not ideal, we hope this measure helps ensure that the rivers remain open for the remainder of the control season.""" )
 

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Yup, I'd just about given up looking for cancellations when I saw that notice, but my neurosis wouldn't let me. I saw that they'd dropped that notification a few days after it went up, then there were a half dozen available permits the next day(Tuesday?) I decided I'd better snag one.
Really doesn't make any sense to shut down the OUTdoors during times like these...

Ben
 

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Yup, I'd just about given up looking for cancellations when I saw that notice, but my neurosis wouldn't let me. I saw that they'd dropped that notification a few days after it went up, then there were a half dozen available permits the next day(Tuesday?) I decided I'd better snag one.
Really doesn't make any sense to shut down the OUTdoors during times like these...

Ben
Glad I am not the only one with these .... issues. I have been checking rec.gov so often for out target window. I read the notices, but I couldn't quite stop checking....

You're making feel better and not so alone in my obsession.
 

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I am suffering from "whiplash syndrome" over the changes. However, hard when out of state and getting a group together so no too disappointed. Good for the "local's" anyhow.
 
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