Thursday, August 2, 2012

Carmen Bridge Access

A new River Access Point (RAP) is nearing completion near the Carmen Bridge down river from Salmon, Idaho.

 The Idaho Department of Fish & Game is going all out to make the new Carmen Bridge Access Area one of the best RAPs on The Salmon River. IDFG Staffer Greg Painter is in charge of this extensive project. IDFG acquired almost 12 acres last year for $265,000. So far, the project has cost about $90,000 but that figure is expected to up go when the concrete boat ramp is installed and other improvements are made to the property. All of the funding came from salmon and steelhead tag sales.

Note that the Carmen RAP is known by two names. The highway sign says "Carmen Bridge Access Area" and the onsite sign says "Carmen Creek Access." Most local folks know the area simply as "Carmen Bridge."

 There is an Access Yes access area immediately below the Carmen Bridge on river right. This unimproved site receives heavy usage. Permission to continue to use the private property there could be revoked at any time by the owner.

The new Carmen Bridge Access Area was developed to provide reliable, safe and efficient long term access to The Salmon River at this key location. Painter said he hopes to obtain funds to install an ADA-handicap fishing ramp at some point in the future.

The new RAP has a lot already going for it, including a new ADA-compliant vault toilet and a giant parking area. The site design features ample turning radius the longest rigs as well as more than ample parking for trucks and boat trailers. Painter said a formal dedication and ribbon cutting is possible when the project is completely finished. He hopes the project is complete yet this field season. He expects the concrete boat ramp to be installed in August, barring unforeseen circumstances, of course.

 The new RAP is guaranteed to be a popular spot during the next steelhead season. It is much more convenient and accessible for trailers than either the informal RAP below the Carmen Bridge or the BLM's Morgan Bar RAP 1.9 miles down river. The Carmen Bridge Access Area is 4.5 miles down river from Salmon's Island Park RAP and 11 miles down river from Shoup Bridge. It is 6.4 miles up river from the Tower Rock RAP. Some photos with captions are below.

Major congratulations to Greg Painter and IDFG are in order for taking the initiative to get this project off the drawing boards and into reality. It's a huge improvement for providing permanent public access to The Salmon River at a very vital spot.
Currently a small sign sits beside the US 93 northbound lane just before Carmen Bridge.  The boat ramp portion of the sign has been covered over until the concrete ramp is in place.
Each of the major public RAPS from Stanley to North Fork now have tremendous interpretive signs that provide information about wildlife or local history.  each sign also shows the river mileages to the nearest up and down river RAPs.
Hre's the giant parking area for the Carmen Bridge RAP.  There's even more potential parking back in the trees.
This is the location of the soon-to-be-built concrete boat ramp.  Obviously, the best time to put in such a ramp is at the lowest practical water levels.  Note that you can glimpse a portion of the Carmen Bridge just downstream from the ramp's location.  There's a great eddy here and it's going to be easy to launch and take out at the new RAP.
IDFG isn't encouraging formal usage of the boat ramp due to its unimproved nature at this time.  The ramp would be great for small inflatables but it's possible for a truck-trailer rig to get hung up on the shoreline.
Lastly, here's a screen capture from Google Maps.  The red "A" marks the approximate location of the boat ramp.  This is a great project sure to be heavily used for years to come.  THANKS, IDFG!

No comments: