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RRFW Riverwire – Pearce Ferry Rapid and Road Photo Update
September 30, 2009

Work is progressing well on the public access road to the Colorado River at Pearce Ferry Arizona. Heavy equipment is actively working on the road at this time. River runners will see a water pump at the river side where the proposed take-out ramp will be located.

According to Lake Mead officials, the road is projected to be open by January 1, 2010, and is being constructed with funds from Grand Canyon National Park’s Recreational Fee demonstration Program. River Runners for Wilderness is please to have worked with Lake Mead officials to make sure this road is built to public road standards with public funds.

Lake Mead officials note that the road will be constructed on sand and gravel where the road travels over lake sediment. The project will include a parking area, jet boat dock, and boat ramp.

The only location where paving is used is about 250 feet of the road where it slopes down to the proposed ramp. There may be paved low water crossings included where the road crosses large drainages.

At this time Lake Mead planners are not going to allow downstream river runners to launch at the ramp. It is estimated that it may take as long as a year or more for planning to be completed to possibly allow this activity.

As of this writing, all river runners arriving at the ramp from upstream, having launched at either Lee’s Ferry or Diamond Creek, may travel on downstream to South Cove if they wish to bypass the new ramp facility.

Photos of the road construction taken September 29, 2009, can be viewed at the River Runners for Wilderness web site photo gallery at this link:

Meanwhile, just a half mile below the location of the new ramp, Pearce Ferry Rapid continues to occasionally flip watercraft and scouting is recommended.

According to National Park officials, on September 1, 2009, a Wilderness River Expeditions 37-foot-long motorized tour boat flipped in the rapid. The craft was operating without its outermost side tubes attached and overturned in the rapid, resulting in the loss of approximately $10,000 worth of river gear. The boat was not carrying any commercial passengers at the time and there were no reported injuries.

An important new feature in Pearce Ferry rapid is the appearance of a new rock mid channel in the exit flume of the rapid. Scouting on river left is recommended, though care must be used to stay well back from the edge of the unstable sediment cliff on the shoreline.

Photographs of Pearce Ferry rapid, including the new mid channel rock taken September 29, 2009, can be viewed at the River Runners for Wilderness web site photo gallery at this link:

River runners are reminded that there are two additional rapids near Mile 292.5 at the end of Iceberg Canyon. National Park Service officials are attempting to recover a twenty foot jet boat that sank in the rapids here Sunday September 27, 2009. All four passengers in the boat were wearing life jackets and were not injured in the boat sinking.

The present reservoir level is 1094 feet, which is ten feet lower than at this time last year. The present level is still six feet above the historic low of 1088 last seen in 1964 after the closing of the Colorado River to collect water behind the newly constructed Glen Canyon Dam.

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