BOATER FRIENDLY -- The Castle Rock cutting has begun this month at Lake Powell. Boaters will find it much easier to access the lake from Wahweap and Stateline to get uplake with less time and more comfort. Pat Horning, Aids to Navigation/Dive leader for the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, urges visitors to Powell to help prevent the spread of invasive species and, above all, to boat safely.
Lake Powell Report
Live To Play Another Day!
By Patrick Horning
Aids to Navigation/Dive Leader Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Well, it’s actually happening. Yes, that’s right: The Castle Rock Cut is being dredged. Work begun in early April entails a large barging effort to get all the equipment there, and then holes will be drilled and powder inserted. Finally, all the rock will be mucked out. This is going to make a lot of Lake Powell boaters very happy this summer not having to go all the way around the Island.
Boaters Happy with Castle Rock Cut
The Castle Rock Cut seemed to be the major point of interest when I spoke
to many of you at the Boat Show in Phoenix this year. I am glad to be able to report to Arizona boaters the good news.
This is a very large project and will help all of those who access the lake from Wahweap and Stateline to get uplake with less time and more comfort.
The bottom of the cut currently is at an elevation of 3,614 and will be drilled to a depth of 3,577and blasted. The plan is to have the bottom at an elevation of 3,580 when the project is complete.
Water is rising, and even though the big flood was reported to result in a loss of 4 feet, it actually only dropped 1.69 feet. It was still snowing in Colorado at press time, so there should be plenty of water this year.
The Bureau of Reclamation right now is predicting a water level in July of 3,638.64. In May, the water should be at the old cut level of 3,614.
This is how the project is going to work. The Antelope Island side will be cut vertically because of wilderness restrictions (yes, bet you didn’t know Antelope Island is managed as wilderness).
The bottom will be 80 feet wide and then slope upwards at a 1.5-to-1- foot ratio on the Castle Rock side. The entire width will be 160 feet, but there will be some shallow water on the Castle Rock Side.
Over 275,000 cubic yards of material will be removed and leveled out in the various deep spots between the cut and Castle Rock.
Buoys will be placed throughout the cut to delineate the safe-water channel, and they will be lit so passage will be possible at night.
An Important Request
I would like to ask a big favor of those of you who will use the cut to pull in your towed vessels before entering. Towed boats congest the narrow passage and damage the buoys and lights.
When the water level in Lake Powell reaches 3,625, we will re-align the channel as you go upstream to shorten the route even more. You should pay attention to the navigational aids and hazard markers at all times as this year when the water rises, there will be continual changes to the marked channel.
Remember: “ Red on the right going to Hite.” Also, it is the National Recreation Area’s policy not to mark hazards that are out of the course of the red and green buoys. Once you turn out of the channel, you must maintain a diligent 360-degree lookout.
Quagga Mussels: Do Your Part
Once again this year The National Park Service is keeping a diligent eye on
the possible introduction of Quagga mussels into Lake Powell. Our system is voluntary, which is convenient, but it is imperative that everyone does their part to keep Quaggas out of Lake Powell.
You may know that Quaggas have been found in Lake Pleasant and in the canal systems in the greater Phoenix area. They have also been found from Lake Mead down the Colorado River.
If your boat has been in those waters, it is imperative that you clean the vessel and the trailer completely. The larval form of Quaggas can survive in bilge water and live wells as long as they are wet.
It will only take one careless boater to infest Lake Powell with Quaggas. Don’t be that boater!
Preventing Powell Accidents
Last year, the numbers of fatalities were very high at Lake Powell; boat wrecks and fires also caused a lot of destruction. You, as boaters, should be aware of what causes these accidents and how to prevent them.
There is still time to enroll in a boating class this spring to be ready for a safe boating season whether at Lake Powell, on the Colorado River or any of Arizona’s waterways.
The Aids to Navigation crew looks forward to seeing you at Lake Powell this
year, and we look forward to seeing you leave — in the exact same healthy manner in which you showed up. LIVE TO PLAY ANOTHER DAY!