Launching also resumes at Forest Service’s Corn Creek Site
Riggins, ID – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued an emergency closure on the Lower Salmon River on August 27, 2015 to all recreational activities along the Salmon River due to impacts from the Tepee Springs Fire. The closure affects the River from French Creek to the mouth of the Little Salmon River in Riggins, Idaho (17.78 miles).
The Tepee Springs Fire has shown erratic behavior and on August 29, crossed the Salmon River during a turbulent wind event. The fire continues to grow in size to the north on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and is also moving to the east toward Carey and Vinegar Creeks on the south side of the Salmon River on the Payette National Forest.
“After serious analysis of the current and near-future conditions surrounding the fire’s activity by the Incident Management Team, the BLM is able to rescind the emergency closure.” said Will Runnoe, BLM’s Cottonwood Field Manager, “We appreciate the patience of the recreational users of the Salmon River during this emergency situation. We are pleased to open the River however users must follow the short-term restrictions set in place as we continue to monitor the fire situation.”
Effective at 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time on Thursday, September 3, 2015, the emergency closure is lifted with the restrictions listed below. Rafters will also be able to resume launching at the Forest Service-managed Corn Creek Check Station. All users, commercial and private, must abide by the following restrictions:
· - The main Salmon River Road will remain closed by the Idaho County Sheriff for fire fighter operations and associated dangers related to the fire along the roadway. Road dangers remain high due to burning debris, falling rocks and snags. This closure includes the normal “take-out” locations - Carey Creek and Vinegar Creek.
· - Rafters may “float through” the fire area and can “take out” at BLM’s Shorts Bar Recreation Site located just east of Riggins, Idaho. This take out site adds an additional 24.5 to 21.5 miles down-river from the normal take-out locations (Vinegar and Carey Creeks). Rafters may need to plan an extra day for their trip as a result.
· - River Shuttle services will need to take vehicles originating from Corn Creek Check Station to the Shorts Bar Recreation Site east of Riggins, Idaho.
· - In addition, the Spring Bar Recreation site is closed as a result of the fire. River users are not permitted to stop and use the restroom facilities as the site is not safe for public entry.
· - A River Guard will be posted at Shepp Ranch on the Main Salmon River to provide updated information regarding current Tepee Spring Fire activity as well as protocol relating to safely passing through the active fire zone. All rafters shall stop at the Shepp Ranch to receive a safety briefing prior to continuing down river.
· - The information provided by the River Guard must be strictly adhered to for the safety of the public.
· - Rafters should anticipate delays should the fire activity intensify.
The existing emergency closure for a large area of BLM lands along the Lower Salmon River includes the Shorts Bar Recreation Site. This closure has been modified to open the boat ramp and parking area only. The campground remains closed to camping and day use activities. This amendment will allow for BLM permitted outfitters and private parties to launch from Shorts Bar for river opportunities downstream.
As an alternative to rafting the Main Salmon River, private rafters are encouraged to consider floating the Lower Salmon River and Snake River from BLM’s Hammer Creek Recreation Site near White Bird, Idaho to the Heller Bar boat ramp south of Asotin, Washington. Currently no fires affect the Lower Salmon and Snake Rivers. Float time is approximately 3 to 4 days along this 72-mile section.
Information regarding the Lower Salmon River can be found at: http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/Districts-Idaho/CDA.html.
For information on the Main Salmon River, please visit the Forest Service website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/scnf/recreation/wateractivities/?cid=stelprdb5303132