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Correct me if I’m wrong, the Lake Creek blow out happened roughly in the middle of the summer season with several trips already on the water. The log jam left trips already on the river stranded above. The current situation is a bit different, because the season is just beginning.
 

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Would you have the same opinion without a June 9 launch? Serious question, I’m asking myself the same thing but don’t have any MFSs coming up this year.
My stance on it being the Forest Services job to maintain the resource and make it as safe as possible definitely stands regardless of whether I have a trip coming up or not. I guess I should have said that, should the Forest Service team decide the river is unsafe to run and close it down... I'd be a bit disappointed that I didn't get to go on my trip but I would accept it.

I really think its the managing agency's responsibility. I would presume that the Forest Service would have experts on staff or at least on call to make decisions about how best to handle this situation.
 

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Let’s also be honest here that the FS isn’t managing this as a complete “wilderness” environment either. As such they do have some responsibilities. I do however agree with the point that this is a very dynamic and wild environment, not Disneyland, and private and commercial trips need to come prepared for the unexpected. My opinion is that the primary responsibility of the FS here is to adequately advise those groups who have permits, make sure that all parties show up at put in with realistic expectations, skills, equipment, and flexibility to deal with the conditions we are seeing. Anything beyond that starts to get a bit murky imo
 

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The USFS "hands off" approach to fighting fires in the wilderness areas in part added to the current situation on the MF. The fire smoldered/creeped a quite a while with minimal efforts to contain it for many reasons (staffing, priorities fires elsewhere in the region/US, safety, etc.) and when winds/humidity played into it there was no stopping it. It was a slow moving freight train, I am sure others predicted the outcome. Most efforts were to protect other resources such as private/public structures and sites inside and outside of the wilderness such as the Boundary facility.

As a cost to benefit ratio, not attacking the fire with large resources due to wilderness designation, only to come in afterwards to clean up nature doing it's thing is not reasonable.
 

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We may disagree and it’s okay if we do. I don’t feel it’s the FS’s mission to keep wilderness safe. They don’t shut the river down during non-lotto season when it isn’t outfitter money making season for hazards. If that was the case, they should rename it erness and take the wild out of it. MFS is in the Frank and protected by the Wilderness Act, Central Idaho Wilderness Act, and also under Wild and Scenic River protection. Probably a conversation for another thread so I’ll close with this because the MFS is a special place because of things like this.

DEFINITION OF WILDERNESS
(c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation;
I can see FS cutting out logs for immediate rescue of human life. I don’t see how cutting out logs so outfitters and privates can “more safely” navigate the river is congruent with much of the quote above. There’s a small but stark difference between preservation and conservation.
 

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My name isn't Will
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You’ve just described much of Boundary to Indian at higher flows. Head on a swivel out there.
Yeah.

I remember not really having time to take my eyes off the water to try and look at my map, much less get out my glasses so I could actually READ the map.
 

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I spoke to some guide friends. It sounds like there is a group of commercial guides currently working on the log, not the FS. They got to the log yesterday, but ended up helping a private group get a pinned boat off the log for 3 hours. It also sounds like there is a large log in Velvet sticking off the big rock on the left forcing you further right than you'd like to be and also blocking any far left sneak.
 

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Keeping my fingers crossed for a big surge in the next few days to blow things out and clear. I've got a June 15th MF trip... While not a MF veteran,my last trip was at 6.4' and I've run the South Fork Salmon 8 times at varying levels.
There have been several years when there were huge avalanches that brought literally hundreds of full sized trees into the EFSF that flushed down into the SFS and down into the main-after the big water came and flushed it out...

I also remember the huge log jam that blocked up Pistol Creek(I think), and the forest service did go in and dynamite it due to several groups being stuck upstream of it waiting for it to clear...

I think anyone running woody, wilderness runs should anticipate either lining boats or portaging. This means packing fast and light, bringing lots of rope, anchors, belay devices... and knowing how to use it if needed. IMO, small trips are way safer in these conditions. If a hazard presents itself the lead boat can quickly pull over and so can the 2-3 other boats behind.

I'm really thankful for any arial recon pics the local pilots are posting for us to try to anticipate potential problems-of course, wood moves around at all times, but any and all valid info on river hazards is always good info.
Another



The forest service is the managing agency and maintaining "the resource" and keeping it safe is their job. Just because its "wilderness" doesn't mean it needs to go untouched. Perhaps allowing the management entity to manage the river in the way they want is the way to go too. Perhaps having a bunch of private boaters and commercial guiding companies just do whatever they want, possibly getting hurt or making things worse isn't great. Getting some help from the public and commercial outfitters is great... but at the end of the day its up to the Forest Service to manage it and make sure it is done by the book.
Electric-Mayhem as one that’s done the river 20 times on or before Memorial Weekend including one hell of a float last weekend (5/26 launch on Marsh), having the USFS being responsible for making the river safe (clear the obstacles, etc) is unrealistic, and from my perspective dangerous. Rapid temp changes, warm rains on snow, mud slides and all that in steep heavily burned areas makes for RAPID changes to our special little river. I appreciate what the USFS did in Pistol years ago, I appreciate the way they administer the river and share safety info, but if I depended on a talented but very SMALL group of USFS employees to keep me safe, my guess is they’d close the river till mid July, because they couldn’t keep me safe.…. Sorry, but no freakin’ thanks. The MFS is dangerous in the spring. That’s part of the lure I guess. Seriously, in the spring if you need to depend on anyone but you or your group, it’s probably the wrong sport for you. And after this weekend, I’m considering that advice for myself. Apologies for being so direct.
 

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Yeah.... much better to have average Joe boater who thinks he knows what is best for "the resource" make decisions for all of us unsupervised. WIlderness schmilderness.... roads, buildings, air strips, lodges, dam structures, rocks piled up around hot springs, firewood collected, bridges across a the river, a full trail built along nearly the entire stretch of river and the list goes on. Whatever you guys need to tell yourselves.... but I'll stick to my guns that the managing agency, at the end of the day, should make decisions about how the river is maintained. Obviously a river is impossible to make 100% safe....far from it especially with this mildly high water combined with fire debris. Using the excuse of "removing a log is changing the natural nature of the river corridor" when you drove down a graded road to put your boat in on a man made slide that is just below a dam structure with a viewing platform and a gazebo for you to sit under while the ranger talks to you right after you walked down a trail from the campground with several pit toilets and picnic tables at every site... is just silly.

Having this belief doesn't absolve people of personal responsibility... but leaving it to a bunch of "citizen boaters" to make all the decisions unsupervised sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I mean...half the stories you hear and videos you see are a bunch of people with sub par decision making skills confirming it usually with equipment not designed for the task. When performing log extractions and removing other hazards, there is a real possibility of messing it up and making it worse or for the people doing so to get hurt.

To be clear....this doesn't mean one shouldn't try to keep ones head on a swivel and react to the conditions as they change. I just believe that, when it comes to known hazards, like a riverwide log a mile from the put in, on the river and making a plan to remove them... it is the managing agency's job to oversee it. I seem to be in the minority in this belief.... so I guess it is what it is.
 

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I wonder how the USFS would oversee/supervise a bunch of weekend Paul Bunyan's. They wouldn't say diddley since if anything went wrong they would probably be dragged into some sort of legal mess. If one look's at the the Middle Fork map/publication the the USDA/USFS produces you will notice that the only description of rapids shows location and a class rating. Nothing in there tells/suggests river runners the best line to take for the same reason of potential liability.

We can hash this out back and forth here in this forum, but why doesn't someone sit down with the river managers to get their perspective? I am throwing out the "challenge flag" for someone to pick up and run with it.
 

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SarahofTheWaves
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Land of Many Uses. Which resource to protect? Why? Who benefits and who pays?

If the USFS made the river safe on a daily basis, they would end up in court. Among the large USFS staff how many of them actually have the skills and knowledge to safely manage strainers in a continually shifting environment? The commercial companies (and many privates) have the expertise and knowledge.

User beware, have the skills, and manage the risk. Know when to stay home. Bring a saw and know how to use it. Be ready to portage. Don't open the bottle until you are in camp.
 

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Yeah.... much better to have average Joe boater who thinks he knows what is best for "the resource" make decisions for all of us unsupervised. WIlderness schmilderness.... roads, buildings, air strips, lodges, dam structures, rocks piled up around hot springs, firewood collected, bridges across a the river, a full trail built along nearly the entire stretch of river and the list goes on. Whatever you guys need to tell yourselves.... but I'll stick to my guns that the managing agency, at the end of the day, should make decisions about how the river is maintained. Obviously a river is impossible to make 100% safe....far from it especially with this mildly high water combined with fire debris. Using the excuse of "removing a log is changing the natural nature of the river corridor" when you drove down a graded road to put your boat in on a man made slide that is just below a dam structure with a viewing platform and a gazebo for you to sit under while the ranger talks to you right after you walked down a trail from the campground with several pit toilets and picnic tables at every site... is just silly.

Having this belief doesn't absolve people of personal responsibility... but leaving it to a bunch of "citizen boaters" to make all the decisions unsupervised sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I mean...half the stories you hear and videos you see are a bunch of people with sub par decision making skills confirming it usually with equipment not designed for the task. When performing log extractions and removing other hazards, there is a real possibility of messing it up and making it worse or for the people doing so to get hurt.

To be clear....this doesn't mean one shouldn't try to keep ones head on a swivel and react to the conditions as they change. I just believe that, when it comes to known hazards, like a riverwide log a mile from the put in, on the river and making a plan to remove them... it is the managing agency's job to oversee it. I seem to be in the minority in this belief.... so I guess it is what it is.
This type of mindset is why national parks are paved and a zoo…

It’s the wilderness, let her be wild and free. Just as she wants too. If you can’t play, don’t play…
 

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This type of mindset is why national parks are paved and a zoo…

It’s the wilderness, let her be wild and free. Just as she wants too. If you can’t play, don’t play…



No pooping in the pit toilets, using maintained boat ramps, or graded roads for this guy 👆

Pulling a couple logs out and having a managing agency that has a mindset towards keeping the river safe is totally the equivalent of "paving over nature".
 

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No pooping in the pit toilets, using maintained boat ramps, or graded roads for this guy 👆

Pulling a couple logs out and having a managing agency that has a mindset towards keeping the river safe is totally the equivalent of "paving over nature".
You’re absolutely right. It is my opinion. You don’t have to agree with it. I promise I won’t use the vault toilet though. That’s all on you. You can have my share of TP. Can’t promise the seat will be warm, but what I can promise is plenty of flies to keep you company.

I don’t go to the wilderness for pooping in a vault toilet and using maintained roads or boat ramps. I’d actually have zero issues with the access being complete poopy. I want to be in the wilderness for the experience it gives. I want to take mother nature in as raw as I possibly can. As brutal as she can possibly be. It’s this primal feeling, you and mother nature doing a dance of survival. I don’t know why but that’s my kick. Get the same feeling while hunting. So these so called “improvements” just aren’t “improvements” in my eyes.

The thing that sucks is the city people take that feeling away. Because Now the popular locations “needs” a bigger parking lot, a toilet, facilities of some sort, a graded road, etc.


I got an idea..Make America Wild Again
 
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