Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MAIN SALMON RIVER (POWERBOAT)

The Main Salmon Wild and Scenic River (Long Tom Bar to Corn Creek) offers powerboat users a fun, challenging and beautiful trip through a deep and rugged canyon. The Main Salmon River travels east to west for over 80 miles bisecting both the Frank Church River of No Return and Selway Bitterroot Wilderness areas. This undammed, free flowing river contains many class III and some class IV rapids, depending on water level, and its whitewater characteristics change greatly over the course of the year as flows fluctuate. The Main Salmon not only offers river users the opportunity to seek solitude, but also provides a unique glimpse into the past, from prehistoric pictographs to old homesteads.

There are two primary seasons on the Main Salmon, control and non-control. The control season lasts from June 20 through September 7 each year, and during that period a limit has been set at six powerboats on the river per day, with no more than three powerboats traveling together as a group. The maximum stay is limited to six nights and seven days during this season with a maximum group size of 30. All power boaters are required to pay the fee of $4.00 per person per day and carry a valid permit. In additio, each powerboat must have a shovel, bucket, strainer, portable toilet and a fire pan at all times.

For those heading out during the non-control season between September 8 and June 19, the maximum stay is 10 days and nine nights. There is no limit on the number of power boats allowed on the river during this time, and all campsites are first-come-first-served. The group size and equipment requirements remain the same year round. It is prohibited to leave your camp or equipment unattended for over 24 hours without prior approval.
Know Before You Go
Control Season Regulations (June 20 - September 7)

  • Maximum party size is 30 people.
  • No more than 3 boats traveling together as a group, with a maximum number of 1 powerboat craft per reservation.
  • Permits are non-transferable with a maximum stay of 6 nights 7 days.
  • All solid human waste (fecal matter) must be carried out and disposed of as required by local regulations. All trips must be equipped with an approved human waste carry out system. Leaving solid human body waste on Public Land or dumping it into vault toilets or trash receptacles at Forest Service facilities is prohibited.
  • Fire pans are required to contain camp and/or cooking fires year-round and all ashes and other fire residue must be packed out.
  • Cutting or gathering any standing firewood within the river corridor is prohibited. Firewood must be dead and down.
  • Chainsaw use is prohibited unless authorized by either the North Fork or Salmon River Ranger District Ranger.
  • Strain waste water (dishwater) and dispose of food particles in trash, disperse water above the high water line away from the camping area. You are required to pack out all garbage.
  • Use or disposal of soap, detergent, or other pollutants in the river, side streams or hot springs is prohibited.
  • Equipment left unattended for more than 24 hours without permission from a forest officer is prohibited.
  • Staying in reserved camps without a reservation is prohibited.
  • Shovel and bucket are required for fire suppression.
  • No camping within 250 yards of Barth Hot Springs.
  • Public nudity is prohibited.
  • Boat registration numbers on motorized river craft must be displayed pursuant to state and federal requirements; this includes float craft with kicker motors.
  • The use of non-valid river craft is prohibited. This includes, jet skis, amphibious craft, mini submarines, powerboats under 8 feet in length and/ or designed to carry a maximum of 2 passengers, and motorized watercraft that must be straddled when ridden by the operator and/ or passenger.
  • Launching of float craft from private powerboats, year-round is prohibited.
  • A personal floatation device (PFD) is required for each person on any river craft.
  • Children 12 years or younger are required to wear a PFD at all times while river craft is underway.
  • Use of fuel absorption material is required during an on-river fueling operation.
  • Any type of commercial activity without a special use authorization is prohibited.
  • Operating any river craft in a reckless or careless manner, or while under the influence of intoxicants is prohibited.
  • Discharging a firearm near or within an occupied area, such as a campsite, is prohibited. Appropriate and safe use of firearms by all members of the party will be the direct responsibility of the trip leader.
  • Users must abide by all state and federal laws.
  • Permit holders must be 18 years old by the launch date.


  • Non Control Season Regulations (September 8 - June 19)
    Same as listed above with the following differences:

  • No limit on the number of powerboats in the river corridor or in a group.
  • Maximum stay is 9 nights 10 days.
  • Contact Information

    Salmon River Ranger District
    304 Slate Creek Road
    White Bird, Idaho
    83554
    Phone: 208-839-2211



    Attention: Main Salmon River Permit Conditions: Permits are required year-round for accessing the Main Salmon Wild and Scenic River. Powerboat permits are available for reservation annually on June 1st for the control season dates (June 20-September 7). Powerboat permits for non-control season dates (September 8-June 19, annually) become available for reservation six months in advance.

    Cancellation Policy: Please note, once your permit is printed, it cannot be cancelled or changed. Cancel reservation at least seven days prior to scheduled arrival date and receive full refund minus $6.00 reservation fee. Changes can be made to your permit one day prior to your scheduled arrival date.

    Number of Permits Allowed: Customer may have three active permits during the control season and an unlimited amount of permits outside of the control season. 

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