The removal of the Gold Ray Dam has opened up a section of the Rogue River that has been blocked for over 100 years. However, boaters should be aware that this stretch of the river may not be what they have grown accustomed to along the Upper Rogue River. Unlike much of the Rogue in Jackson County, the 11 mile stretch from TouVelle State Park to the former dam site is remote with little or no services available in case of emergencies. Much of this area continues to see downed trees and constantly changing sand and gravel bars.
Below the former site of Gold Ray Dam and into Gold Hill lie several class III and IV rapids, such as Nugget and Powerhouse Falls that are not suitable for novice rafters. Extreme care should be used when navigating this section of the Rogue River.
In addition to these challenges, this section of the Rogue does not afford boaters well maintained access. The Rogue River below TouVelle State Park to the Gold Hill Sports Park has no developed facilities for boaters to ‘take out.’ “Public facilities are few and far between below TouVelle and boaters need to be aware that the only take out is the very rustic and undeveloped Fisher’s Ferry Ramp just below the former Gold Ray Dam area,” says Steve Lambert, Jackson County Parks Manager. The Fisher’s Ferry take out does not have sanitation facilities or adequate parking to handle a large amount of use.
Jackson County Sheriffs Marine Patrol, along with Jackson County Parks, the Oregon State Marine Board, and Oregon State Parks are cautioning boaters to think twice before putting in a raft at TouVelle and floating downstream. If boaters miss the Fisher’s Ferry take out, they are going to be forced to float through some very serious and challenging class IV rapids before getting to the Gold Hill Sports Park. “Access along this stretch of the Rogue can be very difficult for the Marine Patrol in rescue situations, so please be cautious when planning your trips and be sure to wear a properly fitting life jacket,” says Sergeant Tom Turk with the Jackson County Sheriffs Marine Patrol.
Jackson County Parks is currently working with several other recreation managers to identify a suitable location to develop a safe river access facility in the future. Until then, please be sure to plan accordingly for a safe and enjoyable river trip during the summer recreation season.
For more information, please contact Steve Lambert, Jackson County Parks Program Manager, at (541) 774-6303.