Middle Fork Salmon Blocked by Debris Flow

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Planning a late-season run down the Middle Fork of the Salmon? You might want to change your launch site to Indian Creek downstream.

Salmon-Challis National Forest reported on Sunday that a debris flow has fully obstructed the Middle Fork of the Salmon River from Rams Horn Creek has entirely obstructed the Middle Fork of the Salmon River four miles downstream of Boundary Creek Boat Launch.

Downstream of the debris flow, other log jams have fully obstructed the stretch. The debris flow has displaced the Ramshorn Pack Bridge that spanned Ramshorn Creek on the Middle Fork Trail (#4001). The bridge or pieces of the bridge are in the MFSR, location unknown.

Agency officials are STRONGLY encouraging people to launch from the Indian Creek Launch Site or another access point further downstream of Indian Creek for the foreseeable future. Beginning Wednesday, 8/17, people can launch from Boundary Creek. However, Forest Officials are strongly discouraging launching from Boundary Creek or any point upstream of the Indian Creek Launch Site.

Launching from Boundary Creek will likely result in several portages of significant distance. Boaters may encounter frequent obstructions with little to no time to react before encountering them. The Forest will continue to monitor the debris flow and any associated log jams.

When floating the Middle Fork, the Forest Service advises, always be prepared for debris in the river, including logs and other river obstructions. In the post-fire environment that makes up much of the Middle Fork River corridor, falling trees, rolling rocks, and other hazards may be encountered at any time.  As there is access to the river, Forest Officials are not offering rollovers for launches next season.  Forest Officials are allowing late cancellations, up to three days prior to your planned launch, without penalty. While the Forest continues to assess the situation, there are no immediate plans to try to remove the debris flow and associated obstructions.

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is located in the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness. Wilderness is managed to allow natural ecological processes, such as this debris flow and log jams, to take place. A preliminary assessment determined that the use of explosives was not likely to be successful in removing the obstructions. For more info call 208-756-5587

Watch video footage here

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