Saturday, September 30, 2006

 

North Coast Wilderness Bill

27,000 acres in the Cache Creek area in Lake County was included in the recent unanimous approval by the Senate on Friday. The Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act would designate Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands in Napa, Lake, Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties as federal wilderness. In addition 42,000 acres in the King Range National Conservation area, coastal lands on the Lost Coast, a 27,000 acre expansion of the Yolla Bolly Wilderness in Mendocino National Forest, more than 30,000 ares in the Six Rivers National Forest, 53,000 acres in Yuki Wilderness area and 3,000 acres in the Snow Mountain area of the Mendocino National Forest.

Much thanks goes to Representative Mike Thompson, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Senator Diane Feinstein for their efforts and compromises that allowed this bill to pass. Now let's hope that Bush signs it.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

 

Raft Building and Race!

In Massachusetts, Veterans Middle School recently had a raft building contest for their 8th grade students. This competition was forcused on team-building and outreach for the community-at-large. For several weeks, the teams practiced building their own raft designs and finally tested them in the water at Riverhead Beach. Some rafts would not float and some fell apart causing the teams to go back to the drawing board and re-engineer their designs.

On Tuesday, two teams were left competing. Team Blue and Team Green were the only teams left with their engineered rafts. They paddled from point A to point B and back again successfully.

Project Adventure, founded in 1971 was a co-sponsor to this event along with Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools. Project Adventure grants are available to schools and other entities. These grants provide tools to bring "effective experiential programs" to schools and corporations. Behavior management is also offered for at-risk youth; a similar program that W.E.T. River Trips has provided for some of our teen rafting programs.

What a glorious way to educate young minds! Encouraging our youth to work together on a difficult project with a specific goal in mind helps to allow these young kids to better prepare themselves for their future. And to incorporate an outdoor aspect, helps these same youth to "get off the couch" and develop their bodies for an active lifestyle. See if your school can develop something similar!

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

 

South Fork American River

Just came off of my millionth trip on the good ol' SoFo river. Small group of high-end clients that drove from Southern California to Northern California in one day by way of Highway 1. Now that's a beautiful drive up the coast. The ocean on your left, surfers paddling from the beach and glorious weather highlights this drive on this world-famous highway.

The group came and met their college-aged son in the valley and then drove through Sacramento to the South Fork American river. The foothills are just starting to cool into a hint of fall. The flow was 1,700 cfs and hardly anyone was on the river today. The people just loved it and were surprised that this was the river that everyone says is sooo easy. It's not. Not really. Class 3 to 3+ rapids and some say that the Chili Bar section is Class 3 to 4... that's a river that requires technical expertise. Kayakers love this section because it is challenging to navigate and surf the rapids through this area.

The beginning of the run has a surfing section that is well-known in the paddling community. The Chili Bar Hole is home to the annual kayak rodeo and the spectators love watching the kayaker antics at this recycling hole. Even the rafters like to surf this rapid!

Well, we're back to square one again... hardly anyone out here except for private boaters, kayakers and an occassional commercial rafting companies. We love the fall... river is beautiful at this time of year!

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Monday, September 25, 2006

 

Surf News:Cowell & Huntington Beach

Look out paddlers and surfers near Cowell Beach! Surfing hangout, Cowell Beach was closed 51 times during the 2006 season from mid-June to early August. Unreal. Flesh-eating kelp reigned supreme... just kidding. Actually, the bacteria that feeds on decaying kelp is a hazard to humans. The bacteria will make you sick to your stomache and is not a nice way to end a great day of surfing and paddling. The bacteria can lead to many illnesses including skin & ear infections and can even cause death. Cowell Beach is a popular Monterey Bay beach in California where swimmers, surfers and paddlers play regularly. The 276-mile long federally protected Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary supports one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems in the world.

And further south, we hear that Huntington Beach is still bickering with Santa Cruz over the official title "Surf City, USA." The US Patent & Trademark Office has given Huntington Beach the official and exclusive title. Huntington Beach is notorious for serious surfers, the surf museum and the surfing hall of fame. First order of business was to send cease & desist letters to any entity infringing on their official title. One of the first letters to go out went to Noland's on the Wharf in Santa Cruz. Noland's was selling t-shirts with the words "Santa Cruz" and "Surf City." Instant notoriety gave these t-shirts a collectability status that has surfing and paddling communities clamoring for the shirts. Geesh, can't we all just get along?
Post by Surf Goon

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

 

Middle Fork American is Back!

We have received notification from California State Parks that the Middle Fork American will have boatable flows this weekend! Fire is 100% contained, access road is open and PG&E has repaired the power lines to operate the dam.

Last night the flow was ramped up as we watched the flow chart show 1,100 cfs on the river. Yeah!... it's about time.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

 

More Ralston Fire News!

100% containment has been achieved on the Ralston Fire. Over 8,423 acres were burnt, 10.5 million dollars was spent by the US Forest Service and California rafting companies lost monies in refunds to clients that they could not take rafting due to road closures on the Middle Fork American. A huge economic impact for the feds, state and local level...

And over on the South Fork American, not a nary of warning was given this past Sunday, as outfitters geared up for a normal Sunday of rafting. Hundreds of rafters lined up on shore as we watched the flow trickle downstream into nothing. No water, no warning. Water managers for this reservoir did not communicate not a single word to anyone. Not even the governing agencies on this river knew what was up. What a sorry state for a bunch of agencies that oversee our industry...

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

Vote for the Environment!

Couple of news items...
Ralston Fire is at 65% containment and CDF is estimating total containment by September 17th! Rafters may be able to see the Middle Fork American before the season ends... we'll see how the road access shapes up in the next week...

Patagonia, the retailer that produces sustainable clothing and gear for climbers, rafters, paddlers, surfers and just plain ol' outdoor enthusiasts, has set up their stores to distribute Voter Registration packets for new voters in this upcoming election. They will also have League of Conservation Voter info for those who would like to review the voting records of the politicians that are currently up for re-election.

All of you who spend a lot of time in the outdoors, keep in mind the power you hold in your sweet hand... get out of the kayak for one day and get yourself into the voting booth. The power is in your hands!
W.E.T. River Trips

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

The Ralston Fire Sept 2006

California is currently up to its neck in wild fires. The Ralston Fire is still out of control near the Middle Fork American River. Containment is only at 35% and 6,780 acres have burned as of September 12th and continues to be a difficult one to contain. CDF, California Department of Forestry and its 1,361 firefighters are battling steep terrain, inaccessible areas and winds whipping up areas making this a battle against nature.

Mosquito Ridge Road access is currently closed and rafting outfitters have had to reschedule or modify their Middle Fork trips to accommodate this latest blow from Mother Nature.
Information from California State Parks, Yubanet and W.E.T. River Trips

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