Thursday, May 24, 2012

Extreme Makeover due at Deadman Hole

 Here's how Deadman Hole is situated between the East Fork and Bayhorse RAPs.
 This is a look at the current situation. Look below the narrative to see details of the makeover.
Here's a different perspective from upstream of Deadman Hole showing its proximity to Malm Gulch.
(Click any graphic above to see the larger version.)

Deadman Hole Recreation Site and River Access Point (RAP) will close in June so construction can begin on various improvements.  Two day-use picnic shelters, a day-use parking area, a new vault toilet, a concrete boat ramp, a gravel boat trailer parking area and five campsites with shelters, fire rings and tables will be installed.

This is welcome news for anyone who has ever used this rough and tumble RAP.  Traffic has always run helter-skelter over and around the entire site.  There's never been any rhyme or reason to where to park.  The boat ramp, if you could call it that, was one of the worst on the Upper Salmon.  That's been a chronic shame because the site has always had so much potential for recreational boaters and floating fishermen.

Deadman Hole sits strategically between the East Fork and Bayhorse RAPS.  It's also next door to the interesting geology of Malm Gulch.  Petrified wood has been found up in Malm Gulch and there's now some interpretive information at that site.  Malm Gulch occasionally floods during the summer thunderstorm season.  Once in awhile it spits out quite a large alluvial fan into The Salmon River.  Such fluvial activity can periodically create a nice new wave at the Gulch's confluence with the river. (See red "X" in graphic above.)

The Challis BLM Field Office has really gone the extra mile to improve the RAPs within their administrative area.  Improvements to Deadman Hole will bring most of the Challis RAPS up to a high standard.  We would expect that Deadman Hole will see considerably more usage after these improvements are complete, especially during steelhead season.  Judging from past projects, we'd expect Deadman Hole to remain closed for an extended period, possibly well into the low flow floating season during late July and August.

We congratulate the BLM on giving Deadman Hole its "just due" and undertaking an ambitious "extreme makeover" of this site.

The actual hole of Deadman Hole is located on river right of the large chunk of bedrock at the upstream end of this site.  At high flows, there's a huge swirling eddy here that slams large amounts of driftwood and other detritus into a pile on river right below the rock's upstream face.  Deadman Hole gets its name from the 1882 demise of Isacc T. Swim, a prospector who perished trying to cross the river to get to his gold mine claim.  His body was found that summer in the debris deposited at this large eddy.
 The new boat ramp will be moved much farther upstream and be MUCH easier to access than the old boat  ramp.
Best of all is that the access to the area will now feature a safe location to pull off and on the highway.
The new campsites will be located downstream from the boat launching and day use area.
Even though this camping area is right next to the highway,
it will still provide great camp sites during fishing & summer recreation seasons.
(Site Plan details courtesy of the BLM's Challis Field Office.)

No comments: