Friday, December 25, 2009
Hear that lonesome train.....
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Here are some things at Dinosaur National Monument you might be interested in:
There is a new phone system for the river office. A menu will allow you to find river flows, road conditions, water availability (echo Park, Lodore, Lily Park, etc) and other information. 1 (866) 825-2995. In addition you can email questions to the river office, get the information from a link at the Dinosaur National Monument web site.
The fire blanket regs for 2010 will be a fire blanket of appropriate size is required.
The Lodore and Deerlodge boat ramps have been improved significantly. (Remember to use boat ramp courtesy and not block the ramps for lengthy periods.) The structures in Jones Hole (outhouse, store shed, and old ranger cabin) have been removed.
There was a fatality at Triplet (bottom rocks) in 2009 on a private river trip at 2000cfs.
Shell Oil has been buying Yampa Junior water rights. The Yampa still has significant Junior Rights appropriations that are unused. The Shell project is around 375 cfs for 45,000 acre feet reservoir. It will come from a pump station on the river 7 miles west of Maybell, CO and use an existing pipeline to a reservoir, then via Cedar Wash (via Co road #23) in another existing pipeline to the White River and the Piceance Basin where the oil shale project is. Much of the reservoirs are on private lands, but the project will cross BLM land; thus issues like NEPA, endangered species, Wild & Scenic Rivers and other federal issues will have to be studied. The NPS feels that it can’t stop the project because of a previous filing on water for recreational boating that was rejected by the Colorado Water Court. However my feeling is that enough case law exists to contest the District Court (remanded the case back to the State of Colorado) decision and appeal on recreational and a variety of other needs (endangered species for example). Dinosaur and the Water Rights folks plan to re-apply for water rights. Steamboat Springs has applied for water rights based on recreational boating. Stay tuned.
The Million Project proposes to take 250,000 acre feet from Flaming Gorge and pipe it via I*) to the Colorado Front Range and as far south as Castle Rock (a new reservoir is already being built near there!). In 2007 the Bureau of Reclamation found there is 155,000 acre feet that can be withdrawn. At present Colorado is doing a statewide survey to determine the availability of water. The Million Project is, at present, poorly thought out with a plethora of holes in it. The Department of Interior Agencies involved, at present, are united against the project. There is boisterous opposition from Uintah County and some near-by downstream users... but Utah is reticent to oppose because of the St. George project to withdraw water for its golf courses from the Colorado River.
Besides the Yampa there is still unappropriated water on the White, lower Green and Colorado Rivers. There is a large irrigation withdrawl on Hastings Road (to Swayseys) in Green River. Some think the large pump stations there are a precursor to the proposed nuclear power plant in Green River.
Oddly enough in all of this the BIG downstream Senior and Junior users (California) has been suspiciously silent!!!
Issues involving oil and gas development will, under present BLM leases and requirements affect the air quality of Dinosaur NM as well as the Uintah Basin (You want to hear people scream - just wait until the Utards have to get their vehicles emission inspected!). Last year in downtown Vernal there was an Ozone alert... and Ozone and particulate from drilling, the new burgeoning network of roads and other O&G development are the culprit. The dust from as far away as Nine Mile Canyon apparently has a significant affect upon Dinosaur.
Dinosaur NM received 14 million from the Federal Stimulus Program, 13.1 million goes toward the new Quarry Visitor center(s) which should be in place in about 2 years. In the meantime the old Wilkins Store at the Monument Boundary has been donated to the Natural history Association and it will be operated as an interim VC during demolition and construction.
The Weed Removal program has completed tamarisk removal at all river camps and the Weed Warriors are working on removal at lunch stops in Whirlpool and Split Mountain lunch beaches. The tamarisk eating beetles have been very successful at defoliation and stressing the plants in the river corridors. They are most likely to be observed at the head of Whirlpool Canyon around the Mitten Park Fault. Several studies related to the beetles are being conducted, including one on the breeding bird populations.
Because of the opportunity, climate and flow changes the tamarisk is being replaced by willow thickets. It’s a problem as the NPS has no plans to remove them, and they are especially prevalent along some Yampa camps. Almost all Russian olives have been removed from along the river corridors.Colorado Pikeminnow populations are increasing slightly, but Humpback Chub populations in the Monument are declining. Some Chubs were taken to 2 USF&WS hatcheries (to keep genetics separate) and Bonytail Chubs were returned to the river. The USF&WS is releasing larger fish (7-14") to decrease the chances of being taken by non-native fish. There was a small local decline in peregrine populations this past year, probably due to weather fronts moving in at the wrong time. Mature bighorn ewes are declining and there is some worry about the future of breeding ewe availability. The NPS, USF&WS and states are studying and monitoring all of the above.
Whew that was a lot, but hope its been helpful to you.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
On July 18, 2008 in the case of Conaster vs. Johnson the Utah Supreme Court ruled unanimously to uphold the public's right to use and recreate on waters that the public owns. The court concluded "we hold that the scope of the easement provides the public the right to float, hunt, fish, and participate in all lawful activities that utilize the water. We further hold that the public has the right to touch privately owned beds of state waters in ways incidentally to all recreational rights provided for in the easement, so long as they do reasonably and cause no unnecessary injury to the landowner”. Read: Conatser vs Johnson –>http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/Conatser071808.pdf. The Conaster Decision was vigorously challenged in the Utah Legislature in the spring of 2009. A final version of the bill was tabled in the waning minutes of the session.
Stakeholders in Utah's stream access debate are gearing up for the 2010 Utah Legislative Session, when questions of public easements to Utah's waterways will once again be addressed. Anglers, river enthusiasts, real estate interests, conservation groups, private property advocates, farm groups and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are all posturing for a place at the table in the debate over stream access in Utah.
Utah Water Guardians provides updates from Capitol Hill, and a current version of the bill is available for download on their website: http://utahwaterguardians.org/.
(Photo Ky Frye)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Last few months have been busy with work, and preparing to (FINALLY) move into our permanent Salt Lake residence (only 5 months after getting back) but it's looking promising - the finishing touches should be completed by the time we get back from this trip, and we'll be ready to move in. Ky and I still haven't even unpacked from North Carolina, so the move should be relatively painless.
I have been trying to find the time and money to put the Plascore shoe on the dory, but haven't yet managed to, so that is still a work in progress. She won't be coming on this trip, 2400 cfs is a bit below my threshold for the wood boat on Deso, so Grey Boy, my 16' Achilles bucket gets the nod this time, fresh off a trip down the Middle Fork Salmon with Rupert "Ray Ray" James III. Hoping 7 days on the water will give me the time to find and fix the slow leak in the starboard chamber.
We were also planning to bring Everett (furry buddy) but he somehow got injured in the last couple weeks and has been slow to recover. Had us scared for a couple days, obviously in pain but not emanating from any discernable location on his body. Thankfully I can report he is on his way to a full recovery, but unfortunately for all involved he will have to sit this one out as well.
Pics and trip report to follow.....happy trails.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Managed to sneak away for a couple floats these last few weeks, getting out on the Moab (Colorado River) and Green River dailies. I wasn't able to use my Desolation Canyon permit over Memorial Day because of work but managed to transfer it to some friends who were able to put a trip together for the high water. I surprised them by driving down to Green River the day they were supposed to take out, and posting up at Nefertiti until they floated past, joining them for the last few miles of river and a beer & burger at Rays. It seems really strange not being on the river more this spring but damned responsibilities keep popping up, and the economy and Ky & my lack of permenant jobs have put a damper on our free wheeling ways for now. But we're planning for a fall Deso trip, followed by some time on the Salmon in Oct. for Steelhead fishing, and another Grand Canyon trip (Ky's 1st!!) next Spring.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
In other news, I am slowly moving towards shoeing the dory with 3/4" plascore. This will (I hope) give me a worry free bottom that will withstand the occasional rock hit without requiring an immediate repair.
When I built my boat, I didn't know any better and used 3/8" Okoume for the bottom. This would be fine if I was the type of person that only floated calm water or just didn't hit rocks. But I am neither of these and my boat has taken some hits requiring on-stream repairs. Not to keep the boat from sinking, but to prevent water penetration into the wood. Knowing what I know now, I would have used 1/2" fir or another longer grained wood rather than Okoume, or more likely I would have used plascore. It's light, and it's impervious to water damage. So even if you put a gash all the way through the bottom (unlikely) you can just put some gorilla tape over it and call it good until you get home, then take the time to make a permanent repair, instead of wasting time with rough repairs on the river which only have to been removed and replaced once you get back home.
This raises one of the issues I have with commercially built dories and drift boats. Everybody wants to be able to say they build an "indestructable" boat but we've all seen that no matter what material or process you use to build a boat, it is no match for the power of the river should the river decide to show you. I am much more interested in having a boat that is reasonably impervious to the occasionally rock hit, while being as easy as possible to fix in the event of something more significant. Which is why I like plywood, plascore, fiberglass and epoxy. And when the most suitable building materials are also the most attractive, why would you want anything else?
So Larry helped me join a couple pieces of 3/4" plascore to get the length I need, now I just need to order some biaxial glass and I will be ready to do the layup.
I thought about vacuum bags and other elaborate systems, but decided to go the simpler route, relying on the chemical bonding properties of the epoxy to do the work for me. Once epoxy cures fully, new epoxy added will not chemically bond to the old epoxy, making it necessary to scarify the surface to allow a physical bond. So for the new shoe, after the first layer of the layup, everything else will be done in one big push in order to chemically bond the subsequent layers.
I have sanded the bottom of the boat with 80 & 120 grit. Next I'll lay down a layer of biaxial glass fabric using a slow cure epoxy mix, allow it to begin to kick, then lay down the plascore sheet and evenly weight the sheet down with sandbags, bags of pottting soil, etc. (which I'm hoping will more evenly distribute the pressure than hard sided weights) and allow to set up for 24 hrs. Then pack the open cell edges of the plascore with thickened epoxy, and finish with another layer or 2 of biaxial glass over the top, overlapping several layers of biaxial tape at the chine.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Progress report from Larry - bottom is on, and looking mighty fine. This is a one-off design based on some design principals he and I settled on after many hours in the shop and on the phone, and hundreds of emails back and forth about what would make the perfect dory for fly fishing. This one is long, wide, and carries it's width further back into the tail than either of our current boats, accommodating a rear passenger/angler.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
In an admittedly surprising turn of events, the Utah Legislature today voted down a bill which would have severely limited public access to Utah's waterways. This is great news to anyone who cares about Utah's rivers and streams.
If you were not familiar with HB 187, it’s a piece of legislation in response to last years Supreme Court ruling that gave anglers access to virtually all bodies of moving water in the state. This Bill, would have negated the ruling and more critically removed waters that generations have had the opportunity to fish.
Today's positive outcome is due in no small part to the tireless organizing efforts of anglers, boaters, business owners and many others who spread the word about this ill conceived bill, and brought others into the fray to make calls to their representatives and to the Governor. Your voice was heard by the right people, and the bill was shot down.
From one river rat to many, many more - my sincerest thank you to everyone who got involved.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Spring is slowly coming to the southeast.
Ok, I am lying. It is cold and rainy today, and it's still January.
But it is a time of new beginnings. I have been on this little experiment in the southeast since August and while there's been some fun times and superb experiences, I am excited that in 3 months I will be coming home to the west. Ky and I are both looking for jobs (anyone out there hiring?) and hoping to land in Utah. But wherever we land it will be adjacent to or west of the Continental Divide.
Larry and I finally have a shop up and running (well, Larry has it running) in Salt Lake, and a new boat is now underway. I can't wait to get my hands dirty again.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Ky got right down to buisness and put the wood to a couple spectatular fish, the first releasing itself at arms length after a long battle. The second - this beautiful bright hen - was brought to hand after another lengthy fight.
I farmed a big buck myself, spectacularly striped and definitely larger than the fish I ended up bringing to hand - a big healthy buck.
I was hoping to find some of the larger tributaries in shape so I could swing flies with the long rod, but conditions never cooperated. So we ended up embracing the local methods, employing a dead drift nymph to catch these migratory fish in one of the lake's more intimate tributaries.
These lake-run rainbow trout were introduced to the great lakes decades ago, and their numbers are heavily dependent on stocking by the Ohio and Pennsylvania fish and wildlife programs. Descendants of ocean going Steelhead originally imported from the west coast, these fish have become naturalized to the great lakes ecosystems and provide a great sport fishery with huge numbers of 10-20 lb fish caught each year in the fall-spring.
Thanks to Ky for these beautiful pics! Sorry mine were a bit out of focus.