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The angels of Hells Canyon.

Avid fly fishermen on the Snake River no longer have to perform death-defying stunts to reach the base of Hells Canyon Dam, a prime fishing spot that attracts both anglers and spawning steelhead. Today the fishermen can follow the new Deep Creek Access Trail.

"Something had to be done," says Phil Jahn, Payette's Council District ranger, referring to reports of injuries and close calls. "Amazingly, no one has been killed, but one fisherman's dog fell approximately 250 feet and was not so lucky."

Money was a problem. The solution came when the state fish-and-game department and Idaho Power contributed $60,000, and Job Corps students contributed 5,500 hours building steps, ramps, and staircases.

Getting supplies to the site was another obstacle. A Forest Service engineer devised a system of cables for ferrying materials across the face of the cliff. Supplies transported included 37,008 pounds of steel. An army reserve battalion put in 6,000 hours, and the media helped by keeping the public informed as the project developed-even doing one in-depth television documentary.

It took four months to complete the trail, but eager steelhead anglers lost no time breaking it in.
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Title Annotation:Focus: Partners for the Land; construction of new Deep Creek Access Trail for fishermen, Payette National Forest, Idaho
Author:Bigler, Heidi
Publication:American Forests
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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