Branch Library Hours

Halfway  541-742-5279

Tue    1 to 4pm

Thur   4 to 7pm

Fri     9am to noon

        1 to 4pm

Sat    9am to noon

Richland  541-893-6088

Mon    10am to 2pm

Tue      8am to noon

Fri       10am to 2pm

Sat       9am to noon

Water Safety

    If you are going to spend time on the water, the Baker County Sheriff's Office would like to remind boat operators and passengers to pack extra supplies and be prepared for water-related outings. Weather can change drastically in a matter of hours, and water rescues are especially dangerous at night due to decreased visibility and often high winds on the reservoir.

     Be sure to make friends and family members aware of your plans, including departure times and specific travel routes or destinations. This will significantly decrease rescue time if something happens. Plan ahead, be prepared, and enjoy your boating activities.

Idaho Power Campgrounds

     Winter camping fees go into effect November 1 at Idaho Power parks in Hells Canyon. Fees range from $5 for a tent space to $8 for an RV space. Discounts are available for seniors and veterans.

     For a full rate schedule, maps, and other park information, visit the Parks link at the Idaho Power website.

     You may now make in-season campsite reservations on-line as much as nine months in advance. There is a $10 fee for reserving on-line, and they may be made for visits scheduled between the first Friday in April through the last Sunday in October. A phone reservation option is also available for $15; call 1-844-472-7275.

     Smaller overnight campsites are not included in the reservation system. In Hells Canyon, Carter's Landing and Moonshine Mine remain available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Snow Pack Information

    As of December 3, the Schneider Meadows SnoTel site, elevation 5400 feet, is reporting a snow depth of 12" with a total precipitation accumulation of 4.2" since October 1. After this weekend's snowstorm, the FS 39 road between Halfway and Joseph is closed for the season.

     Check the recent weather and snow pack reports from Schneider Meadows SnoTel site and the Sparta Butte RAWS site for updates. More information is also available from the Wallowa Avalanche Center.  The WWNF also has snowmobile trail maps and condition reports available on their website.

Oxbow-Brownlee Highway Work

   The Idaho Power road between Oxbow and Brownlee dams is currently restricted to a single lane as workers blast portions of a hillside to widen the roadway. Planned blasting will require full closure of the road for up to two hours beginning at 2pm MST one afternoon the week of December 2-6; the exact date has yet to be determined.

   Work is generally taking place between 7am and 6pm Mountain Time Monday through Friday. Mobile traffic lights are in place around the clock to move traffic through the area. The project is on schedule for completion by mid-December.

Woodhead Park Boat Ramp Closure

   The boat launch at Idaho Power's Woodhead Park in Hells Canyon will be closed for much of the next three weeks, from November 25 through December 14, to facilitate installation of boat barriers above and below Brownlee Dam later this winter. These barriers will prevent boats from getting within 600 feet of the dam on the upstream side and within 1,000 feet on the downstream side.

    Access to the old ramp, just south of the main ramp, will be open November 28 through December 1 and December 8. Parking will be limited during these dates.

   Construction of anchor points will begin in December with final installation completed later this year or in early 2020, depending on weather. The barriers are not expected to impact streambank access to the river.


Brownlee Reservoir Update

     As of December 3, Brownlee Reservoir is at 2065 feet, 12 feet below full pool level of 2077. This depth allows access to all local boat ramps: Hewitt/Holcomb, Woodhead, Moonshine Mine, and Farewell Bend. Spring Creek and Steck Park boat ramps are not accessible.

     Idaho Power has begun the annual draw-down of the reservoir to prepare for upcoming fall Chinook operations in Hells Canyon. The low point has been reached, and currently 8500 cfs is being released below Hells Canyon Dam to refill the reservoir. Brownlee should reach near-full status by mid-December.

     For current reservoir elevation information, check the Idaho Power website.

Toxic Algae Advisory

     A health advisory has been issued for 15 river miles of Brownlee Reservoir on the Snake River from the Canyon Creek/Swede's Landing area to Idaho Power's Woodhead Park. People are urged to use caution when recreating in or near the water. High levels of toxin-producing cyanobacteria (toxic algae) can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

     During this time, the public is advised to avoid swimming, wading, or other activities, and ensure children and animals are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with river water. Boiling and filtering the water can actually increase the risk. Wash hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a toxic algae bloom. Thoroughly wash and clean any fish caught in contaminated water and dispose of any internal organs before consumption. Filet the fish and remove all of the fat, skin, and organs before cooking. Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur.

     Symptoms of toxic algae exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, contact your healthcare provider.

ODFW Electronic Licensing System Launched

     ODFW launched a new electronic licensing system on December 1, 2018, with the sale of 2019 licenses and tags. The new system will allow hunters and anglers to carry their documents electronically on their smart phone or tablet and tag fish and wildlife with a mobile app that will even work off-line. A new FAQ about the system is now available at their website.

Photos courtesy of Hells Canyon Journal, Baker County Library Historical Archives,

Anna Brisk, Phil Wreden, Cindy Thayer, and Timothy Bishop of Base Camp Baker

News and event information courtesy of Hells Canyon Journal


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