Sweeper / Strainer Removal Tactics Questions
I have a friend in Minnesota doing a study about removing river hazards and he's looking for ideas / tactics, and photos or visual aids to assist him in putting together a trainign for the Minnesota DNR folks. Any of you out there got any cool ideas we might all benefit from? Thanks, Chris
Explosives are the best way if you have access to them. Next best option is a lightweight chainsaw with a long bar and a peavie.
The most important thing is to always have the boat on the downstream side with the bow pointed upstream. I have seen a 21' jetcraft sucked under a logjam and bent like a beercan, and I have been on a recovery of a wooldrige that had the transom sucked under when the owner tried to pull a tree out of the main channel by tying a rope to the loops on the transom. Also never tie the boat to the logjam while trying to clear it.
I have always cleared logjams by roping a limb with the bow rope and using reverse to pull the log off to the side or by nudging the log with the bow. For sweepers the easiest way is to tie a rope (at least 1/2" I use 5/8")as close to the end of the tree as possible and then tie the other end of the rope to a tree on the bank, the cut the tree off at the bank and let it fall into the water, if all goes well the tree will drift up against the bank.
Not exactly what's being referred to here, but Crumm's comment on explosives reminded me of what happened at Dynamite Slue in the lower Big Susitna. I just heard the story third hand, so I might have some of the story wrong, but...
It seems about 20 years ago someone decided to open up a small slue moving between the left and right sides of the river just above where the Beluga power line crosses. It must be at least two miles between the sides, and most of the flow was on the left side, none in the middle, and some more on the right. His idea being that once opened small boats would be able to get from one side to the other without having to do a long end run around Bell Island (I think that's the one). This would make accessing Alexander Creek much easier.
Well, after blowing the log jam out of the way, water started flowing and eroding the banks of the slue. The slue grew wider, and became a new access route, while earning it's name and a little fame. But instead of just making a nice access, it kept growing and diverting ever larger portions of the river. It eventually took out two of Chugach's power line towers. One about a decade ago, and another last year. Now considerably more water flows down Dynamite Slue than the left bank, as most of the river is diverted right here. The whole river changed in this section. The old Susitna Station, where 50-100 years ago the river boats & paddle wheelers interacted with the Inlet boats, became nearly dry, and you could hardly go up where the river used to be. As I understand it, the previously easy access to Red Shirt Lake, and others along here, is no longer possible for anything larger than a canoe or airboat.
I haven't been in the area for over a decade, so things may have changed again. They often do in glacial riverbeds. But perhaps this illustrates why some logjams should not be removed.
Great story Jim! I think the main flow has returned to the left as it used to be. My recollection from my childhood had the old Susitna Station actually upriver a ways from Dynamite, but I could be wrong. We mostly spent our time working on the farm at Alexander, so I never havee been to Redshirt other than to fly over it, but it seems it's upriver from dynamite also isn't it? Regardless, your story surely illustrates how important it is to really think things through when we choose to alter nature like that, there are often repurcussions of the domino nature that probably would come to light given some objective brainstorming, discussion and planning beforehand.
Originally Posted by Jim Strutz
Sometimes it's well worth it, maybe the lake Hood channel is an example? How many of us have begun some really cool adventure from that man made sculpting of nature? Or the Susitna Boat launch, or Jims Landing. I believe with proper planing and forethought man can sculpt his surroundings to make for a better place to live and recreate.
By the way, what my buddy is studying about is not to jump in and re-route or anything like that. He's more looking at things from the standpoint of when a flood places a hazard in the river causesing danger to recreational users. Sort of like the log across the Kenai backchannel last summer, or the jam on the Twentymile that I posted about (which filled back in during this falls flood by the way, so boaters beware next summer!).
I understand there is a now a thought strain among foresters and river managers who believe because there are many more river miles with buffers preserved from the old logging days, the trees are now getting larger, falling into rivers, and making larger and often impassable jams much more like before modern times. The struggle in these peoples minds seems to be weather to remove them if they become a hazard, or restrict access and allow the river and forest to return to their natural, primitive, and undisturbed (and unaccessable?) state.
I believe, as does my buddy down south, that it is acceptable to maintain safe access on rivers by performing minimally intrusive and specific extriciation of enough logs to allow safe passage for those recreating on the rivers. I also believe that the rivers best friends are those who recreate on her.
I like your recommendations Lastsplash, it sounds specific and carefully thought out. I'll forward all of this down south if you guys don't mind?
Thank you, ChrisO
Last edited by chriso; 11-20-2007 at 05:51.
Not a problem. If the information prevents someone from from losing their boat or more importantly their life then it is worth evry bit of time and effort to write down.