High runoff creates challenging conditions for kayakers and motorists

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Hoback is running high and hard. The Greys is growing and growling. Smaller tributaries and streams are the first to swell with the warm-up and melt-off in the region. As they feed larger rivers like the Gros Ventre, Hoback, and Snake, flooding will become a bigger problem than the “moderate” forecasts currently issued by the National Weather Service.

River runners have already encountered challenging conditions on the Hoback and Greys rivers. One tree obstruction was removed from the Hoback weeks ago and now Search and Rescue and Backcountry Zero are warning kayakers about an obstruction in the lower falls of Fall Creek near where it meets the Snake River just south of Hoback Junction.

A Facebook post on Backcountry Zero’s website read: “Warning kayakers…be aware that there is a TREE in the LOWER WATERFALL you can’t see until you run the FALLS. The private landowner where this is located will charge people on his land without permission with trespassing. Do not assume you are welcome.”

Hoback River banging on its banks near Highway 191. (WYDOT)

WYDOT is also closely monitoring the Hoback as that river is hustling and bustling and eating at its banks in several spots. One area of particular concern for the highway department is near milepost 148 on US 191 north of Bondurant. Some bank deterioration has occurred enough that maintenance crews will bring in gravel material to protect the bank and keep water from destroying the roadway.

“It’s getting to close to the roadway. Eventually, it could cause some damage.  That is why we are bringing in some gravel,” said WYDOT maintenance foreman Bruce Daigle.

As WYDOT crews continue to monitor and shore up roadways, motorists can expect some speed reductions and lane closures in the Hoback Canyon.

WYDOT said it “will not hesitate to close the road section if conditions deteriorate and become unsafe for the traveling public.”

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