Upper Kenai Logjam GONE!!

Michael Strahan

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Well folks,

A few weeks ago a bunch of us went down and dealt with the jam on the upper Kenai. We were able to cut the main cottonwood out of there, and a number of other logs that were pinned in it. There is still one large cottonwood that is underwater, which we were not able to get to, so it is possible that something could get pinned under it and cause trouble, but right now it is free.

Someone else got there before us and tried to cut it out, but they lacked a saw with a long enough bar. One of the guys in our group brought a Stihl with a 36" bar on it (I think it said "Binford" on the side!), and made short work of the situation.

Keep in mind that the river could still jam on the submerged log or elsewhere. Caution is always in order whenever you are floating swift, narrow, blind channels!

We have a short article coming out on that in the newsletter, which should be hitting your inbox today. Also be sure to check out the details on the Alaska Raft and Kayak site, complete with photos.

And yes, we did have the permission and blessing of the authorities; it was coordinated by Tracey Harmon at Alaska Raft and Kayak. Kudos to ARK for getting 'er done!

Regards,

-Mike

michaelstrahan
 

alaskachuck

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Thank you

Thank you

A big thanks to all of you for getting it removed. I was just in AK raft 20 minutes ago and spoke with Tracey. I wish I had know about this so i could have thanked him personally.

I was looking for some advice on getting my zippers restitched on my toons. As usual tracey send me to the right place. Alaska Tent and Tarp. Restitching for both tubes both side of zippers around 100 bucks. So if anyone needs stitch work down that is the place to go.
 

BlueMoose

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YEAH! Thanks

YEAH! Thanks

Mike and Tracy as always thanks for all you do and have done.

Keep up the great work.


Moose-O
 

danattherock

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Awesome work guys. What a log jam that was. Lots of people will be safer due to your efforts. Thanks!
 

Ridgerat

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Thank you for removing that sucker! :):D

I was really dreading that someone was going to get injured or killed in there.
 

Xanfly

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This will be my first year to float the Kenai on my own boat, so it is good that it is out of the way.

I have heard some people weren't happy about this logjam being removed. Seems like not everyone shares the same opinion as most on this board.

Something about novices with no business going down that braid, ruining fish habitat and so forth. Anyone else feel this way?

I am a novice so I have no problem with it, just curious what you guys think.
 

Michael Strahan

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This will be my first year to float the Kenai on my own boat, so it is good that it is out of the way.

I have heard some people weren't happy about this logjam being removed. Seems like not everyone shares the same opinion as most on this board.

Something about novices with no business going down that braid, ruining fish habitat and so forth. Anyone else feel this way?

I am a novice so I have no problem with it, just curious what you guys think.

I'm sure what you say is true, about some people not liking the jam removed. I had not heard that yet, but I expected to. To me it is the same thing as moving a boulder that had rolled into a road. Is it habitat? Probably to some degree. Do humans have the right to move it out of their way? I think so, in the interest of safety. Note that I am not a "slash and burn" outdoorsman; I won't cut a tree down for campfire wood and prefer not to use a saw at all for firewood collecting. Instead, we break branches up for wood. But I have no problem using a chainsaw for cutting out snags, sweepers and jams on rivers. For me the dividing line is safety.

This does not mean I support paving Alaska, putting sidewalks along all our rivers, or somehow "taming" the wilderness. I just think we had a dangerous situation on the most popular river in the state, and it needed to go before someone lost their life in it.

-Mike
 

alaskachuck

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This one needed to be moved. If it was in an area that could be seen before you went down the channel and knew it was unsafe that is one thing. This one was just around a bend in fast current in a narrow channel. It is very very lucky no one was killed on that briad. this is one of those times that for the safety of all of us on the river it should of been and was removed.

Thanks again to Mike and Tracy and the guys
 

danattherock

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Hey Dan, It is on a channel I never have floated. I will point it out to you when we float togehter. It can ger petty hairy in that channel


Can't wait Chuck. The wife and I sure appreciate the invite:)
 

T.R. Bauer

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I'm glad it is gone. I tried to organize something together to take it out and I got like 20 reponses on how and why I shouldn't. So I just prayed....you guys are angels :)
 

Mad Dog-11

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Thanks for taking it out before it took one of us out! Great job Mike and Tracy. I look forward to going that way agian.
 

Heg

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Thanks fellas.

I posted this summer that I ran into this logjam with some out of town relatives-that were experienced paddlers. We were able to extract ourselves unscathed; however, it could have been a totally different story. The water was high, and it was an inviting channel, not difficult at all to navigate. Although I am not a “novice”, I do only float the Upper Kenai a couple times a year, so I was not privy to this treacherous trap.

On a river this popular, it is great that some members of our community were able to take the time and energy to remove a potential death trap. Thanks again.
 

Michael Strahan

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Roadblocks

Roadblocks

I'm glad it is gone. I tried to organize something together to take it out and I got like 20 reponses on how and why I shouldn't. So I just prayed....you guys are angels :)

I think the big issue in getting rid of the jam was navigating the legal entanglements. Finally the right folks got involved, and we got the green light to deal with it. If this was on a remote river I would not have hesitated five minutes to get out the saw. This just needed to happen. What it did NOT need was for some committee who had never been on the river to study it for three more years before making a decision. Two years was long enough!

-Mike
 

Michael Strahan

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A word to the wise-

A word to the wise-

I hope folks can see this situation as an illustration that no matter how many times you've floated the river, you should NEVER float a channel narrow enough to be bridged by a tree, unless one of the following conditions are met:

  1. You can see all the way through it to the main channel.
  2. You have walked it out and verified that it can be safely floated.
  3. There are ample pull-outs to allow a way to pull over in case of an emergency.
  4. You have just flown it and verified that the channel is clear.

It's so easy to die up here; while you're pinned underwater looking at the sky just a few inches from your submerged face, the river will keep on flowing, the birds will keep on singing, and the day will go on by without a thought or care about you. You have to do your homework and make good decisions.

-Mike

Thanks fellas.

I posted this summer that I ran into this logjam with some out of town relatives-that were experienced paddlers. We were able to extract ourselves unscathed; however, it could have been a totally different story. The water was high, and it was an inviting channel, not difficult at all to navigate. Although I am not a “novice”, I do only float the Upper Kenai a couple times a year, so I was not privy to this treacherous trap.

On a river this popular, it is great that some members of our community were able to take the time and energy to remove a potential death trap. Thanks again.
 

griff

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Where exactly was this jam? I never came across it last summer, but I was packing up my gear when I was done for the day at jims landing and saw two boats come in with all the people soaking wet and them talking about overturning their boats. I don't know if that was from the same jam or not.
 

Michael Strahan

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Location of jam-

Location of jam-

Where exactly was this jam? I never came across it last summer, but I was packing up my gear when I was done for the day at jims landing and saw two boats come in with all the people soaking wet and them talking about overturning their boats. I don't know if that was from the same jam or not.

We posted a couple of google maps of it in the Kenai logjam thread... but you have to dig to find them now. If you know the upper river much, the best way to describe it is that the channel that was obstructed is on river left (on your left as you float downstream). If you were standing at the right side of the jam, and looking straight downstream, you would see that large cliff on river left, where the main current flows against the left bank. The jam was just a few yards upstream of the end of the side channel. Next time you're in there, just stick to the main channel, but pull in to the left at the tip of the little island there and you'll see where it was.

There is still a very large cottonwood laying across the bottom there (we could not get to it because it was completely submerged)- it appears pinned to the bottom and mostly across the channel. It would not surprise me if we see other logs and debris hung up in there this spring. I won't be floating that channel; it's short and not really worth the trouble anyway in my opinion. I think the attraction for fishermen is that they think they're getting away from people in there. But it's swift and narrow, with no places to pull over and fish anyway. I don't really see a good reason to chance it.

-Mike
 

griff

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Thanks for the description. I opened up google earth and thought I found the spot. The original post on here is still at the top of the page so I found where it really was. I was right, just not sure where in that channel. I've never taken that braid before, so I'm not too worried about it, but thanks for cleaning it out. Hopefuly it wont attract any more debris, but it sounds like it might.
 

FANCYLANCE

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Is it open

Is it open

I was wondering if anyone has floated the canyon yet this year and what it looks like? Also wondering if skilak lake is open ?


Thanks, fancyfishkiller
 
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