Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Camp Closures on the Middle Fork of the Salmon

Article from the Idaho Mountain Express
"Fires Close Camps on the Middle Fork"

by Jody Zarkos

Fires that burned into the Middle Fork of the Salmon River corridor last year impacted several river camps, according to Kent Fuellenbach, public information officer with the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

Fuellenbach said fires damaged a total of 16 camps on the Middle Fork in 2007, leaving behind burned trees, holes, loosened rocks and soil that could pose a significant danger to campers, especially if the weather turns nasty.

"If we have a high intensity weather event, it could cause some problems in those areas," Fuellenbach said. "Forest Service crews will we going through the camps to mitigate the problems."

In an effort to keep the public safe within the limits of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, five camps not considered "reasonably safe" will not be assigned to floaters on the Middle Fork. The closures could make for a long first day on the river, as the majority of the impacted camps are located in the first 25 miles of launch sites at Boundary Creek and the Indian Creek Guard Station, according to Fuellenbach.

Four of the larger camps that will be closed are Lake Creek (mile 14.9), Johns Camp (mile 15.2), Greyhound (mile 15.9), Dome Hole (mile 15.9). Horsetail Camp at mile 52.7 is also closed for the 2008 season.

"People might have to go a long first day, or a short first and long second," Fuellenbach said. "We’re going to have to do some juggling this summer. Two small parties might have to share a big camp."

The Monument Fire burned the first four camps. In assessing the number of hazards that may have to be mitigated, Salmon-Challis National Forest Supervisor Bill Wood has decided to let those four camps in the upper section be shaped by natural forces and reassessed for next season.
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