SALMON, Idaho (KIFI) — On Friday, Helfrich Outfitter’s successfully removed the 40-foot-long, six foot wide and approximately 12,000-pound Ramshorn Pack Bridge from the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
The bridge had been washed into the river from a debris flow on Ramshorn Creek that occurred in early August.
The debris flow demolished the bridge, displacing it entirely into the Middle Fork of the Salmon River at the toe of the debris flow. The bridge was covered by thousands of pounds of logs, vegetation, rock and other debris. The bridge was obstructing river traffic and posing a safety concern. In addition, it was critical to remove the bridge from the river before winter weather prohibited removal and next spring’s runoff and subsequent highwater moved the bridge downstream into a potentially worse position where it could further hinder river boating or get lodged in a position where it would be more even more difficult to remove.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest used the Outfitter Fee Offset Program, where fees outfitters pay for operating on National Forest are reduced for work that they complete on National Forest, to partner with Helfrich Outfitters to remove the bridge.
Kidd Youren, who spearheaded the bridge removal for Helfrich Outfitters, said, “We knew the Forest was spread pretty thin with fighting fires this year and understand contracting the bridge removal could take a long time. We looked at removing the bridge through the Outfitter Fee Offset Program as a good solution for river users and the Forest Service, as we had the ability to act quickly and get the bridge out of the water.”
Helfrich Outfitters cleared debris off the top of the bridge and removed the bridge from the river over the course of four days between September 13 and September 16.
Helfrich Outfitters will return to the site in the next couple of weeks and dismantle the bridge into smaller pieces and move the bridge above highwater. The plan is to remove the bridge next summer by boat.
“The Salmon-Challis National Forest was one of the first Forests to implement the Outfitter Fee Offset Program and it has been a resounding success," Forest Supervisor Chuck Mark said. "Helfrich Outfitters removing the Ramshorn Pack Bridge is a perfect example of this success.”
Since 2020, outfitters have completed over 850 miles of trail work, graded the roads accessing the Boundary Creek Boat Launch, replaced gates, and completed campground and trail head improvement projects on the Salmon-Challis National Forest.