Wednesday, October 13, 2010


A forum sponsored by Idaho Whitewater Association drew about 85 concerned citizens to Cascade Outfitters last Monday evening, for a discussion about what to do with a troublesome rock sitting in the South Fork of the Payette River, along the Banks Lowman road.

Chad Long, of Cascade Raft and Kayak, says, "The rock is upstream on the left hand side, by "Staircase Rapid". It was put there during the reconstruction in 2001-2002, after the landslides. It is a severely undercut rock, and it's a unique and incredibly dangerous area. In the boat community, a couple of times a week down the river will not have the same consistency of every day use, so a lot of people don't know about it. When we hear a raft is stuck on the South Fork, you know where to go. It's that consistent."

Initially, when Cascade applied for a permit in June, it was for the rock's entire removal. Now the water is low, and Long says they can see the better solution would be to put it on its side so the water can't flow beneath.

They were given the permit immediately but it was a clerical error, as ther
e had been no public forum to garner opinions. Aaron Golart, of Idaho Department of Water Resources, says, "The Director of the Department issued to revoke the Stream Channel Alteration Permit S65-20164 to remove a boulder from “Staircase Rapid” in the South Fork Payette River. The application will follow a process that will include input from the public." Golart says they understand Cascade is trying to communicate with folks and the Department is waiting until they re-apply.

Long explains, "Because it's a man-altered feature is our basis of thought; it's not a natural riverbed. We've started the process for consideration. Dean (Fairburn) passed away there, boats hang-up there. When the Ambulance responds to rafters, they don't go out after our own trips. It's the people who don't know."

According to Long, a vote was taken at the meeting, with "well over 80% in favor of turning the rock." He says, " The company is doing this as private citizens, not as a commercial issue.
Now we'll try to move forward.Through the permit process, there will likely be another forum."

The next hearing will be posted on For information, contact Chad Long at 1-800-292-7238.

Aaron Golart may be reached at Idaho Department of Water Resources (208) 287-4941 or

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