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Discussion Starter #1
A permit has been issued by the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources to Tom Long of Cascade Raft & Kayak - an outfitter on the Paytte. We need public input on this. There has not been any public input yet, so here is a good place to start. And spread the word.

I'm extremely opposed this. One person should not get to decide to make river stream modifications. Staircase is a great rapid - probably my favorite class IV in Idaho. I ran it 20 times just this year. Opening the left channel will make it dangerously close to a class III - we already have plenty of class III's on the Payette. Nobody should be able to craft their own rapids. I think the stated reason for obtaining the permit is that this is a public safety hazard. There is a clean line down the center of the rapid that completely avoids the rock in jeopardy. I rarely run the left entry in staircase, but even when I do, I've never had trouble navigation around this feature.

We (the boating public) need to take a stand. This could set a horrible precedent. What's next? The rock that forms "seymour hole" in slalom? Then onto the NF Payette- making it just a steep canal?

Speak up, spread the word.

http://www.idwr.idaho.gov

Cascade Raft & Kayak
Cascade Raft and Kayak - Idaho's premier whitewater rafting

I think the immediate need is to convince the outfitter to not proceed. The permit is already issued, so I'm not sure how far we can get without legal action with Dept of Water Resources. However, I think it may help to voice your concerns with them so that this type of recreational river modification permit is not obtained in the future without public comment.

FYI - this is a cross-post from idahowhitewater : Idaho Whitewater

--Josh McDannel
 

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Come on all you Coloradoans, we need help! With a smallish private boating community, we need voices to make a big impression on these people.

I don't know about Colorado, but Idaho doesn't have a state NEPA law, there is no environmental review requirement for such things. Hence, it is easy for the highway on the Lochsa to become the future "high and wide" trucking corridor, and other things to just slip through without notice.

If you like to boat in Idaho, let your voice be heard. We don't need this to be a precedent. Didn't we stop blasting rivers 40 years ago???? Now we just have cranes to pluck shit out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Laura's right. The precedent that this could set scares me as much as the idea of my favorite rapid being ruined.
 

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You may want to take this up with the US Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District as well. Regardless of the state, USACE has primacy over navigable waters of the US and therefore any disturbance to the soil or substrate should require a Corps permit.
 

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I sent Cascade Raft an email suggesting they should hire better guides.
Let's flood them with emails and calls to let them know they DO NOT have the support of the boating community.

Also curious about the liability issue of a commercial company moving rocks???

...but if we are going to start rearranging rocks, there is that one rock in
Jacob's Ladder that scares the crap out of me....

Richard

Cascade Raft 800-292-7238
email on contact page www.cascaderaft.com
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The public forum is set for 7:00pm Monday October 11th at Cascade/Maravia in Garden City. (Garden City is the armpit of Boise for those of you not familiar with the Treasure Valley).

Attend if you can. I'll be relaying the outcry I'm seeing here, on facebook, ID WW yahoo group and wherever else the boating public speaks.
 

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Josh -

Thanks a lot for your advocacy here. I'm really surprised these things are allowed.

Text of my e-mail:

Hi Tom -

Word has it that you are the holder of a permit to move a rock in staircase. I'd really appreciate it if you didn't exercise that permit. Rocks are part of the game, and part of what I love about my passion for the water. I can understand your desire to remove the rock, but you will also remove the character.

Additionally, I can see the possibility that if someone were hurt on your new rapid, the blame suddenly shifts from nature to you. I'd get a good lawyer now.
 

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those of you closer to this watershed please keep us updated on what's going on here

has anyone contacted AW or any other non-profits that could contribute experience from the Dimple Rock dispute or the recent issue at Frog?

if the permit is issued does anyone have inside info on when the excavation could start?

perhaps a river side protest could draw boise / nat'l media attention?
 

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I sent this:


As a boater I implore you not to modify the river.

Hire more experienced guides or do more extensive training.
 

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I posted this on the Idaho forum:

I spoke with a representative of Cascade, and I think the previous poster who stated that there's a void in good information is correct.

First, I think Cascade moved quickly on this issue as far as applying for the permit and studying the feasibility due to the time frame of maintenance on the dam. They don't intend to proceed regardless of input from the community. Everyone should feel better knowing that their opinion will be heard and the decision will be made by a majority within our community.

Next, part of their perspective is that the rock was moved to its current location by heavy equipment during the dredging operations in 2002. Considering the fatality as well as the number of both private and commercial boats that struggle with the rapid and create potentially dangerous situations AND the fact that it is not a pristine natural stream bed but one that was altered 8 years ago, we as a COMMUNITY may value the opportunity to change where the rock sits.

There is a lot to consider. It may not be worth trying at all or it could be something that has value. Regardless, I don't think there's a need to villanize the Longs. They're merely proposing one option.
 

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Also, another post from Yahoo Groups: Idaho Whitewater, from Tren Long, a member of the family that owns Cascade Raft and Kayak:

Hey all,
I will be shortly posting over on payetteriver.org a statement if you will about
this whole rock moving thing. But before we get out the pitchforks and torches-
We put in a permit to see if the rock COULD be moved- we have currently no
definitive plans to haul the rock out over the outcry of the boating community.
We have followed all of the protocol as is set out by the state of Idaho. We
are not deciding what is safe and not in the river, there is a unique
opportunity with the Deadwood being off - to see this rock and why it has a
sieve that can and has trapped a human body. We are open to community input and
appreciate the boating community.
Thanks for all the feedback,

Tren Long
 

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Permit revoked!

Wow, I have NEVER seen so fast of public response, result in so fast of gov't response! Email from IDWR below:

Ms. Howe,
Thank you for your comments. IDWR has issued an order to revoke the permit to remove the boulder from staircase rapid. The process will be returned to the application phase and the decision to approve or deny the proposal will be open to public comment.
Aaron Golart
 

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We did it! From the IDWR:

IDWR has issued to revoke the Stream Channel Alteration Permit S65-20164 to remove a boulder from “Staircase Rapid” in the South Fork Payette River. The application will follow a process that will include input from the public.

Thank you to all who helped.
 
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