Friday, May 18, 2007

Middle Fork logjam breaks loose

Pile up of logs was near Pistol Creek rapid

Express Staff Writer

A logjam that has blocked the Middle Fork of the Salmon River near the Pistol Creek Rapid in recent weeks has broken loose and is no longer blocking the river, the U.S. Forest Service has announced.

A Forest Service wilderness crew working in the vicinity of the obstruction confirmed that the logjam is gone and most of the logs have floated down river, a Forest Service press release states.

However, there are still several strainer logs blocking the river upstream between Lake Creek and Pistol Creek. Because of this, boaters will still have to line or portage their boats and equipment around those obstacles, said Tom Montoya, Middle Fork District ranger for the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

Despite the breakup, Montoya advised river runners to remain cautious.

"The big logjam at Pistol Creek has cleared, but there are still hazards on the river," he said, adding that the Forest Service doesn't know how far down river the logs that were blocking the rapid floated.

"Boaters need to be alert--there are still logs in the river and they can get hung up anywhere, causing hazards, especially after the high water peaks and starts dropping," he said.

Boaters need to be aware of changing conditions on the rivers and take appropriate precautions, Montoya added. That may mean portaging or lining boats around hazards, he said, noting that the Salmon-Challis National Forest does not plan to clear obstacles from the river to assure passage for boaters.

The road to the Boundary Creek launch site is now open and float parties can launch there. However, the check station is not open yet so float parties will have to pick up their permits down river at the Indian Creek Guard Station.

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