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May 21, 2018 Update

Both the McLure and Little Fort Ferries are closed due to high water.

We were able to conduct our UAV flight mission at McLure on May 19.  Due to unsettled weather (wind and small rain storms) we were not able to film at Little Fort.

On Friday, May 18, the Little Fort reaction ferry crossing water levels were up to the asphalt, and the ferry was closed.

On Saturday May 19, the McLure reaction ferry crossing levels were approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) below the asphalt surface of Westsyde road, and the ferry was closed.

While tributaries such as Jamieson Creek, Fishtrap Creek and the Barriere River have reduced flows, there is still a great deal of land area feeding the North Thompson River to the north.  We are very hopeful that residents along the North Thompson River from Kamloops to Clearwater and beyond weather this high water with minimal damage to property and livestock. The North Thompson River is currently exceeding it’s banks in several areas, flooding farm land.

The Thompson Flood Watch North Thompson McLure blog post has been updated with additional photos and video of current conditions.  We hope to get to Little Fort next week to see how they are hanging in there.

(click image for larger version)

North Thompson River water levels at the McLure reaction ferry about to exceed the banks and flow onto Westsyde Road.

May 12, 2018

This past weekend was a mix of nice, spring time weather, and spring squalls ripping through the North Thompson River valley. Spent time getting the yard cleaned up Saturday, which would have been the optimum day for UAV flight mission considering it was warm and sunny with very little wind. Sunday, on the other hand, was a mixed bag of weather from sun to rain, to snow and strong wind gusts. It is amazing how much the snow has melted over an 8-day period. Up on top of Westsyde road, the show has reduced an entire foot; it was knee deep last weekend.

Westsyde road (the off-road section) has vastly improved from last weekend. There are even a few dry sections where you can kick-up a little bit of dust. For those of you that have not travelled this road before, please use caution as many sections are only wide enough for one vehicle. The road is still wet, and the shoulders are still soft in the treed areas. Still, it makes for a great Sunday drive.

Little Fort Ferry

Saturday, May 12, 2018 update: The water is very high.  There is approximately 30 cm of freeboard near the west ferry dock.  Speaking with the ferry operator we learned that the ferry may get shut down due to high water.  We took the ferry from the west side across and travelled back to Barriere past Dunn Lake.  While we were on the ferry, you could see that there is only about 15 cm (6 inches) of clearance from the upright metal poles on the ferry and the metal bells hanging from the cable suspended over the river.  Hopefully water levels remain the same so the Little Fort ferry can remain open.

For more information on water levels, check out the Thompson Flood Watch North Thompson River Little Fort blog post

Sunday, March 25, 2018: The Little Fort ferry crossing is now open (as of Friday, March 23, 2018)! This permits access to the east side of the North Thompson at Little Fort. We had the pleasure of filming Captain Murray transporting a vehicle across the river on the ferry, and then return and nail the landing on the west side of the river! Thank you, Murry.

Little Fort Ferry Schedule

The Little Fort ferry is open from 7:00 am to 12:00 am, then from 1:00 pm to 6:20 pm, 7 days a week including holidays. This is a first come, first serve ferry service. Specific dates are not set for when the ferry service opens in the spring or closes in the fall.


UAV aerial video of the Little Fort ferry North Thompson River crossing March 25, 2018

McLure Ferry

Saturday, May 12, 2018 update: The water is very high at the McLure ferry crossing.  While we did not get to ask the ferry operator if they would be remaining open due to high water, it looks like this may be the case if North Thompson River levels continue to increase.  Hopefully water levels remain the same so the McLure ferry can remain open.

For more information on water levels, check out the Thompson Flood Watch North Thompson River McLure blog post

UPDATE: March 30, 2018: The McLure ferry is open!  While we did not see it in operation, and were on the west side of the North Thompson river, our aerial photos and video show fresh tire tracks from the bank onto the ferry. (let’s say 98% chance it is open).  Happy sailing!

Sunday, March 25, 2018: The McLure ferry crossing is nearly fully clear of ice! Last weekend it was about 95% frozen over; it’s warming up fast! The flight mission at the McLure ferry crossing was cut short as a little storm came through just after launching.  Small round pellets of snow blowing straight sideways.  You never know when the weather will change, in an instant, when piloting your UAV in the mountains. We did capture a couple of photos and a short video before quickly landing to get out of the weather.

McLure Ferry Schedule

The McLure ferry is open from 7:00 am to 11:50 am, then from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm, 7 days a week including holidays. This is a first come, first serve ferry service.

UAV aerial video of the McLure ferry North Thompson River crossing March 25, 2018

Look for the tire tracks; looks like the McLure ferry is open! March 30, 2018

More About the North Thompson River Crossings

Operation of the ferries is based on when winter freeze-up is over, and major ice flows have passed.  We will be checking back in the next few weeks to see if the ferries are in operation.

Both Little Fort and McLure ferries are known as reaction ferries.  A reaction ferry is a cable ferry that uses the reaction of the current of a river against a fixed tether to propel the vessel across the water. Such ferries operate faster and more effectively in rivers with strong currents. Wikipedia contributors (2017).

More information on the Little Fort Reaction Ferry can be found on our Thompson Flood Watch update blog posts:

Thompson Flood Watch North Thompson River Little Fort

References

Wikipedia contributors. (2017, November 13). Reaction ferry. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:00, March 18, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Reaction_ferry&oldid=810039628

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