‘It’s Basically a Death Trap’: Warning Issued After Log Jam Builds Up on Payette River

May 12, 2019, 7:57 AM

Screen shot from KTVB Youtube video....

Screen shot from KTVB Youtube video.

BANKS, IDAHO, Idaho (KTVB) — Kayakers and rafters beware – a log jam on the South Fork of the Payette River has led the Boise National Forest, along with emergency responders and river experts, to issue a stark warning to river users.

Experts say the log jam and current river conditions make the area extremely dangerous.

The log jam is built up at the Dog Leg Rapid, which is near mile marker 4 on Banks Lowman Road.

“There is a right channel and a left channel,” Phil White, owner of Bear Valley Rafting in Banks, explained. “The left channel is the one that has the log jam actually in it. It’s really dangerous conditions up there right now.”

The Dog Leg Rapid comes out of the Bronco Billy Rapid, which White said is not made for the inexperience river user.

“It’s class 3 and 4 so they’re a little bit bigger rapids,” he said. “Right now with the higher water, a lot of the current is pushing to that corner so if somebody were to be swimming it would be a very dangerous situation up there.”

In a news release, the Boise National Forest said: “Rubber rafts, kayaks and pontoon boats are a concern because the course of the river and its strong current could pull them directly into the log jam.”

Harley Goedhart is an avid kayaker and said he runs the Payette several times each year. He and a group of friends ran it on Friday and he agrees it’s extremely dangerous.

“It is really packed in, little logs back on top of big logs,” Goedhart said. “So we usually call those strainers and it’s really dangerous for kayakers. So just like any strainer that you have in your kitchen, water goes through but your noodles don’t. And kayakers are kind of like noodles. If you end up kayaking into it, swimming into it, it’s basically a death trap.”

White said that’s why he isn’t 100 percent comfortable having customers on board for that area of the river.

“At this point, I’m not running that stretch because of that log jam,” he said. “The water’s obviously higher as well so it takes more experienced people to be able to go up on that stretch. So until the water either comes down or that log jam is out of there, I won’t be running trips up there.”

Idaho Whitewater Unlimited also said they aren’t currently running trips on that stretch either because of the potential danger.

Goedhart added that unless you really know what you’re doing, Dog Leg is not the place to experiment.

“All of the water is pushing to the left, like into the logs – so you kind of have to fight the current and everything to get into the right position where you need to, to be in a safe position,” he said. “So if you’re just floating down, you’re going to end up in it.”

The Boise National Forest said it is currently working on a plan to safely remove the log jam but right now, without a timeline of when that can be done – or how.

Until then, emergency responders recommend river users avoid that section of the river because of the danger and potentially life-threatening risk to both boaters and emergency personnel.

“If you’re not prepared you could put yourself and others in a very dangerous situation,” said Garden Valley Fire Chief Jon Delvalle.

KTVB article here

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Water

The trench that's apart of the new 115-acre reservoir project....

Shara Park

New reservoir to help southern Utah water supply moves closer to reality

A new source of water is one step closer to becoming a reality for residents in southern Utah's Washington County with the Chief Toquer Reservoir.

4 days ago

Snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

WEATHER ALERT: Here’s what to expect as remnants of California blizzard head to Utah

A storm arriving in Utah has the potential to deliver multiple feet of mountain snow and decent valley accumulation this weekend, depending on variables.

4 days ago

Jordanelle Reservoir. 12/19/2033 (Michael Jefferson)...

Eliza Pace

Utah’s water conditions, including snowpack, look ‘optimistic,’ experts say

Storms from January have increased snowpack levels and Utah's water supply shows signs of "resilience and abundance."

18 days ago

Utah Lake water release...

Alex Cabrero

Utah Lake release sends 300 million gallons of water a day into the Great Salt Lake

The Utah Lake control gates in Saratoga Springs opened Thursday morning to release water into the Great Salt Lake.

25 days ago

Kids building igloo...

Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio

Utah snowpack is now in great shape

What a difference a month can make. Data revealed that statewide, the Utah snowpack has grown to over 100%. In some regions, it has reached over 120%. 

25 days ago

Great Salt Lake bed...

Mike Anderson

Dust from Great Salt Lake helps algal blooms thrive, study finds

A new study is putting a large part of the blame for algal blooms on blowing dust.

27 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

‘It’s Basically a Death Trap’: Warning Issued After Log Jam Builds Up on Payette River