Friday, October 28, 2016

Misguided Trail maintenance hurts the environment and our potential for fun

Over the past year some well-intentioned people have been maintaining the trail at Bull's Bridge. Unfortunately several of their efforts are actually hurting the trail and the environment surrounding it. Additionally their efforts are posing a potential risk to both fishermen and white water boaters. Take a look at these photos. They show attempts at controlling access to the river.

The intention is to reduce access points and small Pathways which add to erosion. This is good in theory. In practice however logs sticks and branches are usually thrown on the downstream side of the path. Debris like this, on the downstream side of the path, eventually finds Its way into the river. When logs and branches find their way into the river they get stuck on rocks. Water passes through them but the larger objects can not. Unfortunately sometimes the larger objects are fishermen and whitewater kayakers Rafters and canoeists. This situation poses a harmful potentially fatal Hazard to other user groups. 
Water bars make perfect sense.  Something like the photo above shows a good water bar that will also support the trail.  Immediately to the left, however, is the sad attempt at preventing side trails (debris pile).  This is a potential risk to river users and a weak attempt to control traffic in a boggy water draw.

Further attempts to Manicure the site have resulted in people cutting roots from live trees. This goes against all ethical trail maintenance practices.  It harms the surrounding trees and later on will harm the structure of the trail actually increasing erosion. Healthy root systems are one of the best ways to stabilize a hill side and prevent erosion.  Why someone would do something counter to that end...?

It also takes away from the overall experience of why most people are on the trail in the first place. This Trail which is part of the Appalachian Trail should be at least a semi wilderness experience. It's cannot be manicured for easy passage. Removing roots from live trees is poor trail maintenance, and should not be tolerated for any reason.  

The irony is that an "un-maintained" but wider and easier trail parallels this one.  Why would this trail have to become any easier to pass or why would anyone take any steps towards random manicuring of it by cutting the roots of healthy trees?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wood alert

Low water is revealing would in some strange places. Get out and Scout if you go paddling.  (all images below can be seen higher res by clicking on them)

I did not get a photo of the tree that fell in front of House Rock.  It's not in the main line, but could be an issue in the future.

1st photo below:  the crux to Deadhorse.  note the log at the top of the chute on river right.  It might not be an issue when this is flowing at normal or high levels, but it is an example of many of the short pieces that became lodged in various places throughout the run this summer.  The power plant cleaned up many of the large logs above each of the dams, but in the process sent many small pieces like this downstream.

2nd picture below:  note the log at the top of the top/main drop in Stairway.  I looks to be off the main line right now, but it's difficult to tell if it extends into the main line or not (since the water is so white and turbulent at that spot).  

3rd picture below:  This log sticks into the landing zone at Little Niagra.  At higher water it's a bit deceptive because it is in line with, and goes just a bit past the shoulder of the rock that makes the normal splashy rooster tail thing anyway.   
4th picture below:  here you can see the log sticking into the line at little Niagra.  At this low level, it won't hold a boat, but sure will hit you in the face.  At higher water, who knows what it will do. 

5th picture below:  Another view of the log in the top drop at Stairway. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

1/2 on paint, canal is off

Not enough water to run the power plant, so the canal is empty.

 Random wood in odd spots at low water. 

I suggest that you Scout since the summer shifted a lot of lumber around.

First image is the start of the big drop in Stairway.  There are also a couple of small things just below the surface on the approach.  Look before you go.

(images are full res since I posted this with my phone.  Click on them to enlarge and see things).