County decides to
postpone ramp repair
May 28, 2008 by
Nicholas Grube, Daily Triplicate - Crescent City
Many eager salmon fishermen are expected to migrate to
the Klamath River for fall chinook season, and the Del
Norte County Board of Supervisors did not want to
disappoint them by not having a boat ramp ready.
On Tuesday, the supervisors voted to delay fixing the
Roy Rook Boat Launch until 2009 in an effort to allow
boaters to access the lower part of the river and to help
cure Klamath's ailing economy.
"Klamath needs a break and this is the economic break
that community needs," District 2 Supervisor Martha
A large number of recreational fishermen are expected
to troll the Klamath River for chinook salmon this fall as
the waterway—along with the Trinity River—constitutes the
largest open salmon fishery in the state.
Both state and federal restrictions closed ocean salmon
fisheries up and down the West Coast this year and
severely restricted fishing in California's rivers to
protect the failing Sacramento River fall chinook
The Sacramento River provides the most abundant stock
of chinook salmon on the West Coast, but projections for
this year's fall run are expected to be at an all-time low
of 54,000 fish. The minimum number of chinook for a
sustainable population is 122,000.
However, recreational anglers on the Klamath River
system, which includes the Trinity, will be allowed to bag
up to 22,500 chinook—the second-largest catch in the past
30 years—and tribal members will be allocated 27,000
With these numbers, the Klamath system and its
businesses can expect to see a larger than normal influx
of out-of-area fishermen.
Klamath Chamber of Commerce President Paul Crandall
said this is important for Klamath businesses that have
struggled due to unpredictable chinook salmon fishing for
the past six years.
"They are actually looking forward to this season to
get out of debt," Crandall said of some Klamath area
business owners. "They've been handed a tremendous
opportunity that nobody else in California has—fish, they
For this reason, Crandall supported the Board of
Supervisors' decision to delay fixing the Roy Rook Boat
Launch for one year.
"I think it's a viable option from my perspective,"
Crandall said. "I haven't heard a whole lot from people
saying let's go forward now."
By delaying repairs to Roy Rook for a year, the county
will avoid any conflicts that might arise between the
construction on the ramp and fishermen trying put their
boats in the water.
Construction can only take place on the boat ramp from
July 1 to Oct. 15 due to restrictions that protect
endangered coho salmon on the Klamath River. If
construction went past Aug. 15 it would interfere with the
start of the fall chinook season.
Permits and funding for the Roy Rook repairs can be
postponed for one year, according to Assistant County
Administrative Officer Jay Sarina, but it is unlikely
state and federal agencies would allow any delays past
"Next year they will definitely want us to construct
this ramp," Sarina said.
Roy Rook Boat Launch and the Klamath Townsite Boat
Ramp—which are the only two public access points to the
Lower Klamath River—were damaged by flooding and mudslides
in December 2005. The Klamath Townsite ramp was completely
destroyed, but Roy Rook is still usable.
Sarina said the only problem comes when people try to
put their boats in during low water, as trailers tend to
drop off the end of the ramp. Signs will warn anglers this
year of the hazards, he said.
The supervisors also decided to buy the materials to
fix the Roy Rook ramp for next year. This would help avoid
any delays in construction next year when the ramp is
After making these decisions Tuesday, Supervisor David
Finigan, whose district includes Klamath, gave a
proverbial "cheers" to his constituents who will benefit
from the fishermen who will be able to use Roy Rook during
this year's chinook season and spend their money at the
"Here's to the economy of Klamath in this coming year,"
Reach Nicholas Grube at email@example.com.