Here is the Coloma Shuttle Fall schedule for the next few weeks:
We are transitioning the full American River Festival event to a Spring happening for 2014, but we are continuing the long tradition of slalom races in the Fall and of the popular Gear Swap put on by the Friends of The River (FOR). The traditional Saturday ARF party and raffles etc. will not be held this year (watch for Spring dates), but smaller grass roots evening parties will be held by FOR and at the Nugget on Saturday night.
Take the stress out of planning your South Fork American River trip with the Coloma River Shuttle! Whether whitewater rafting or kayaking, this is easy to use and beneficial for all river rats! A Shuttle membership costs only $10/day with unlimited use. There are also multi-day passes available for an even better price! Currently the Coloma River Shuttle is only operating one shuttle van and trailer, so make your reservations ahead of time. Reservations with the number of riders and preferred pick up time can be made at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the website for more detailed information: www.colomashuttle.com. Here is the shuttle schedule:
Weekend and Holidays Schedule
Shuttle 1 – Chili Bar Route
8:30 am River Park Village pick-up
8:45 am Henningsen-Lotus Park pick-up
9:30 am Chili Bar drop-off
Shuttle 2 -Chili Bar Route
10:30 am River Park Village Pick-up
10:45 am Henningsen-Lotus Park pick-up
11:30 pm Chili Bar drop-off
Shuttle 3 – Skunk Hollow/Gorge Route
4:30 pm Skunk Hollow pick-up
5:15 pm Greenwood Creek drop-off
5:30 pm River Park Village drop-off
5:45 pm - Henningsen-Lotus Park drop-off
Shuttle 4 – Skunk Hollow/Gorge Route
6:00 pm Skunk Hollow pick-up
6:45 pm Greenwood Creek drop-off
7:00 pm River Park Village drop-off
7:15 pm - Henningsen-Lotus Park drop-off
The Coloma River Shuttle is funded by a grant from the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District and operated by the non profit American River Recreation Association. Feedback and suggestions are welcomed and encouraged. ALL ABOARD the Coloma River Shuttle!
On May 5th, David Girard Vineyards and Oak Ridge High School are helping to sponsor the 1st Annual Ruff Road Race, in memory of Coach Josh Ruff. The race includes one-mile and 5K options. Please visit the website for race prices and details, and to learn more about this wonderful event.
The Mother Lode Century bike ride is coming up on Saturday May 11th. There are 28, 64 and 100 mile routes, all with support, meals snacks and a wind down BBQ on the river. Proceeds go to benefit the American River Conservancy and the El Dorado Trail. Visit this website for more information.
Rather run that 100? The Sacramento Running Association is hosting the Inaugural Gold Rush 100K on May 11, 2013. It begins at Sutter’s Mill in Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma and goes all the way to Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento. See their website for more information.
On Saturday May 18th you can start off your day by hitting the local trails for the 2nd Annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Coloma River Run! There are 5k, 10k and 10 mile loop options on this tough, but rewarding trail run beginning at 8:00 AM. All proceeds to benefit the JDRF. For more information please contact Eric at (916) 920-0790 or visit the website.
After the race head over to the highly anticipated 3rd Annual Wakamatsu Farm Festival: A Celebration of the diverse history of the Wakamatsu Tea & Silk Colony Farm. This festival runs from 10-4, and is rich with history, culture and fun. For a complete itinerary and list of events, exhibits and vendors, as well as ticket info, please visit the American River Conservancy website.
Thanks to Christie Pugliese for providing all the details!
For private boaters on the South Fork of the American River, we’re passing along new information about season passes for put-ins at Chili Bar. The Chili Bar Season Pass prices are going up for for the general public, effective January 1, 2013. Members of the American River Conservancy will continue to enjoy 2012 prices.
The Chili Bar Season Passes have four options:
- Full unrestricted Season Pass (FUR) includes 4 people + 1 car per day x 7 days
ARC members $75.00; non-members $90.00
- Full Restricted Season Pass (FR) includes 1 person + 1 car per day x 7 days
ARC members $50.00; non-members $60.00
- Mid Week Unrestricted Pass (SUR) includes 4 people + 1 car mid-week (M-F) ONLY
ARC members $50.00; non-members $65.00
- Mid Week restricted Pass (SR) includes 1 person + 1 car mid-week ONLY
ARC members $25.00; non-members $35.00
You can purchase passes online at the American River Conservancy online store. Purchases by December 31 will enjoy the current rates. You can also join the ARC at the same website.
Season passes are good for 1 year from the date of purchase. The ARC will call to confirm and a pass tag will be mailed to the buyer at the address supplied. Passes can also be purchased as gifts.
Chili Bar revenue goes directly back to the American River Conservancy and is used to support conservation and trail stewardship projects in the South Fork watershed.
Coloma, California, November 29, 2012 — As of 9 a.m. today, the California Nevada River Forecast Center is predicting flows on the South Fork of the American River to reach approximately 27,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) sometime late Saturday or early Sunday, December 1-2. This is over ten times the typical summer flows of around 1500 to 3000 CFS. See the flow projections here.
Levels could be significantly higher downstream from the dam, as side creeks feed into the river. In addition, when Slab Creek dam upstream from Chili Bar starts to spill (at 1850 feet), the flows into Chili Bar exceed the reservoir’s capacity, and the flows can change quickly. See the Slab Creek release.
Lotus resident Harry Mercado points out that in the December 31, 2005, flood event (see photo right), the Chili Bar gauge underestimated the flows through Coloma. A release of 25,000 CFS indicated at the dam turned out to be closer to 40,000 in Lotus. The levels can also change rapidly. He notes that flow “jumped from 5,000 to 42,000 CFS while we slept.”
Residents are advised to remove possessions from low-lying areas. Whitewater paddlers are advised that boating is hazardous at these flows. See our South Fork Flows page for more information on river flows and how the river changes at different levels.
Thanks to Nick & Christina Pugliese and Harry Mercado for the alerts, and to Betty Sederquist for the photograph of the 2005-2006 flood event.
It doesn’t get you a PhD after your name or on the honor roll in college, but going to Guide School puts you in the company of some pretty amazing people.
Most guides on our rivers will have completed either a formal or informal guide school with one of the more than 30 raft companies who call the South Fork of the American River home. These vary in length, intensity and comprehensiveness, but each is geared toward turning that person sitting in the back of your boat into someone who can get you to paddle in sync, steer you out of danger, pull you back into the raft, and probably tell you a pretty good joke or two. As an added bonus, many guide schools second as river cooking schools, and if you’ve never tasted a riverside dutch-oven brownie, well some might say, you haven’t really rafted.
Guide schools vary greatly company to company with some offering training over successive weekends for guides living relatively locally, to guide schools comprehensive enough to train students in the arts of paddle guiding, rowing, and of course, river cooking. Often, these latter types of guide schools appeal to river guide hopefuls as well as the rafting client who wants something beyond the typical river trip, wants a greater challenge and the opportunity for a more wild adventure. These longer guide schools offer training on multiple rivers and involve multi-day raft trips and off-river education in knot tying, boat loading and repair, river mechanics, camp set-up and so on.
Some guide schools offer whitewater rescue classes as part of the curriculum and additional classes in this essential training are available for guides to take independently as well. First Aid and CPR certification training is required of all South Fork guides, and California State Parks offers a half day of early season rescue scenario training annually for river guides and managers. Often, guides will choose to further their first aid training with Wilderness First Aid/First Responder or EMT training.
Guide School is usually a wonderful experience — and leaves you with a number of great stories to tell — just as that person sitting on the back of your boat!
More information on guide schools can be found by contacting any of these organizations: All Outdoors, ARTA River Trips, Mother Lode River Center, and W.E.T. River Trips. Or ask your raft company about their training opportunities.
The River Store Shuttle offers dependable alternative transportation along the South Fork of the American River corridor from Chili Bar to Salmon Falls. Comfortable vans featuring custom equipment trailers transport you and your gear including kayaks, rafts, catarafts and bikes.
The shuttle runs seasonal routes with scheduled stops from April through November. Vans and trailers are also available by reservation for weddings, wine tasting, special events, casino runs, guided hikes and bird watching. Relax and chat with friends while our professional drivers get you where you want to go safely and with less hassle. Shuttle drivers are always willing to lend a helping hand where needed.
For general questions about the shuttle call (530) 626-3435 or visit The River Store. For reservations call (530) 333-9115.
— Heather Shakespeare
Imagine being able to travel on foot, bicycle or horse from the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area all the way to the rural beauty of the South Fork American River in the Coloma-Lotus Valley. Imagine doing so on a trail dedicated to recreation and the enjoyment of oak woodlands, conifer, chaparral, and the riverside.
That long-held hope is now on its way to being a reality. The final land parcel that completes the 20-mile route (see a PDF map) was sold by a couple who decided to protect its natural habitat for the public to enjoy. Funds that purchased it were provided by the State Wildlife Conservation Board, the State Resources Agency’s River Parkways Grant Program, and over 400 private donors. All this, plus the work that had been done on the rest of the trail route, was coordinated by the American River Conservancy (ARC).
The 20-mile trail has been 20 years in the making. Its completion is a source of great excitement for those who have been hoping and working for it since 1989, as well as the many who have come along since then and enjoy the prospect of traveling so far in the richness of nature in their own back yards.
Funds are still needed to bring the trail into reality. The ARC estimates it will cost $175K to complete trail construction and provide a few pedestrian bridges at stream crossings and interpretive signage at the trailheads. The official ribbon cutting is planned for the late spring of 2010. Contributions to the South Fork American River Trail Campaign can be sent to: The American River Conservancy, P.O. Box 562, Coloma, CA. 95613. For further information regarding trail project donations, please contact: David Morrill, ARC Marketing and Development Director at (530) 621-1224.
The completion of the South Fork American River Trail brings an even greater dream closer to reality. With regional coordination, it could become a key segment within a larger regional trail that would span the approximately 50 miles from downtown Sacramento (Sutter’s Fort) to Coloma (Sutter’s Mill). Parcel by parcel, this dream is moving to reality.
A wise old river rafter once told me that the snow pack in the Sierras is largely built by three major storms each season. One storm more or less often determines whether a particular season is normal, below normal, or wet in nature. Attempting to predict the outcome is therefore a risky business. It is wiser to relax and just see what happens. It isn’t over ’till it’s over.
Once again this observation has proven true. While just a few weeks ago the concern was about critical drought conditions, now, one big storm later, the snow pack that feeds the American River is at 101% of normal. Once quiescent, all three Forks of the American River are swollen bright red with runoff. In fact, the North Fork briefly peaked at 11,000cfs. That’s three times safe boating flows. Folsom Lake filled to 92% of capacity virtually overnight!
Bottom line: It is going to be another great season for rafting on the American River! It is time to get out your river gear, Spring boating has arrived.
This is another example of why drought conditions in California as a whole do not prevent rafting on dam-controlled rivers such as the South and Middle Forks of the American River. The South Fork, for example, has multiple reservoirs upstream of Chili Bar that are controlled by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and are collectively referred to as the SOFAR Project. Because of the FERC re-licensing process that ended in 2007 with the acceptance of the Alternative Proposal, the South Fork was guaranteed to have good rafting flows this season, even before this recent storm. In fact, this agreement now provides for predictable recreational flows for rafting for the next 50 years.
Now here is the truly great news, while climate change may diminish snow pack levels in the future, and population increases will undoubtedly increase demand on dwindling water supplies, even in “super dry” years there are 5 days a week of guaranteed water flow for boating on the South Fork. That means Thursday through Monday, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, we can count on good flows that begin and end at specific times of the day, even in the worst drought years ever recorded! Furthermore, 90% of boaters would choose the period in which the flows are guaranteed anyway. That means that even in the worst of times, boating is great on the South Fork of the American. This river has the most reliable water flows of any Class III whitewater river in the West!
One more remarkable fact: The total volume of water that flows down the river is not affected by rafting. No one will go thirsty as a result of your boating the river. The only effect of this agreement was to alter the timing of the release of a relatively small amount of this water, approximately 2% of the total, with the result that a huge amount of recreation results from a relatively small change in the release regimen. This is a win, win situation that benefits recreation, fish, wildlife and also SMUD itself by building a reservoir of valuable community support. Thank you SMUD! We all hope for a similarly favorable outcome on the re-licensing of the Middle Fork of the American, which is currently under way with PG&E.;
See you on all three Forks of the American River this season,
Scott the River Doc and the MaLode Crew
Thanks to Scott Underwood of Mother Lode River Center for this spring 2009 update!