River Ranger Crew Blog - Winter 2009-10
By Jeri Riley - River Patrol Ranger
Pearce Ferry Take-out Ramp Now in Operation
Friday, April 23, 2010
The Pearce Ferry road extension was constructed to enable river take-out operations above the developing Pearce Ferry rapid. The new takeout ramp opened on March 15, 2010. Public launching of boats here is prohibited. This is a take-out and de-rigging area only. The area is also closed to swimming, fishing, camping and shoreline fires in order to prevent conflict with river take-out operations.
Facilities at the ramp include a toilet, but there is no trash dumpster or SCAT Machine at the Pearce Ferry ramp. Car camping is allowed 2 miles away at the Pearce Ferry campground. For boaters completing their river trip, there are a few camps along the river several miles above the Pearce Ferry take-out ramp.
The paved ramp itself is reserved for boats that are being loaded directly onto trailers without being de-rigged. Please do not block the ramp. As you can see in the photos above, there are raft de-rigging areas upstream and downstream of the ramp, accessible by vehicle.
The public prohibition on launching will be revisited in one year following an evaluation of the risk to river runners from the developing Pearce Ferry Rapid.
Loss of Camps in the Lower Gorge
Friday, March 5, 2010
Changing water levels in the lower gorge have led to eroding bluffs in the areas where camps previously existed. The area below river mile 250 and above river mile 272 is especially affected. There are no camps in this 20 mile section. If you are taking out below Diamond Creek, be prepared to camp above or below this section of river. There are several camping options on river left and right above Pearce Ferry, including just above the boat ramp.
Improvements to the Lees Ferry River Camp
Friday, February 19, 2010
Canyon Sketches # 17 - Duration 4 minutes. (Flash Video Format)
Private river runners will notice improvements to their river camp at Lees Ferry before the launch of their trip. River rangers, NPS revegetation crews and volunteers have given this campsite some much needed attention. The video shows the work in progress . This project was completed in an attempt to give river runners an example of a river camp below the Old High Water Zone and as an encouragement to keep their camps close to the river's edge.
February 24, 2010
River rangers and park search and rescue personnel assisted a private river trip in freeing themselves and their boat from the rock garden at Crystal Rapid. The call for help came in to park dispatch on February 24. Aerial reconnaissance by the NPS helicopter confirmed the location of the boat and it’s three passengers in the middle of the river. Due to weather conditions and time of day, the passengers were lifted one at a time by the helicopter and transported to shore via a short-haul operation.
The park's inflatable rescue boat was flown in the next day to assist in removing the stuck raft. River rangers motored out to the boat, removed the remaining gear and were able to rock the boat free. It was brought to shore and re-united with the private party.
Changes to Driftwood Collection Regulations
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Beginning in 2010, driftwood collection will be permitted from November 1 through the end of February each year. The idea behind this is preserving, for as long as possible, the diminishing supply of driftwood and to encourage the practice of trips adopting alternative methods for campfires (propane and bringing your own firewood for campfires). Campfires are permitted for river runners outside of these dates as long as an alternative fuel is used.
As a reminder, driftwood is defined as wood deposited by the river. It is found only at the shoreline. Dead and down wood away from the river’s edge is not driftwood. The collection of dead and down is prohibited.
Collecting driftwood throughout the day while still on the water will ensure that you have an adequate supply for a fire in camp. Don’t wait until you get to camp to look for driftwood, as many sections of the river do not have much driftwood available. River rangers are still contacting numerous trips all winter long that have collected dead and down in camp. This illegal collection leads to social trails into the Old High Water Zone, damage to vegetation and damage to the fragile soil crusts.
In the past few years river runners have begun using fire blankets under fire pans to help with the cleanup of partially burnt material and ash. River rangers and others have spent countless hours cleaning up the evidence of a previous river runner’s fire pan. The use of a fire retardant blanket under the fire pan is recommended now and will become mandatory in 2011. The fire blanket aids river runners in leaving a pristine beach for the next users.
To learn more about collecting driftwood and having campfires on a river trip:
watch some short slide shows and download a handy booklet.
Soap Creek Revegetation with Olla Gardening
Friday, November 10, 2009
Restoration of the Old High Water Zone at Soap Creek has been an ongoing project for several years. This began in with establishing new campsites close to the river and blocking social trails above the sandy areas.
In November 2009 NPS revegetation crews began replanting damaged areas in the Old High Water Zone. This involves the use of olla gardening, which clusters new plants around partially buried clay pots. The plants will self-water by pulling water through the porous clay on an as needed basis. River rangers, Canyon Rangers and revegetation crew will be monitoring the plants and pots until the plants are established. River runners will encounter signs at the work sites. It is important that river runners and backpackers stay out of planting zones and use established trails only.