Due to high flow levels, all portions of the Blue River in Silverthorne located south, or upstream, of Sixth Street have been closed indefinitely to recreational watercraft, according to a town of Silverthorne news release.
Although the closure does not apply to kayaks, in accordance with the town code, kayakers are strongly cautioned to avoid the Colorado Highway 9 and Sixth Street bridges, the release stated.
The river’s current flow is 1,600 cubic feet per second through town, and the bridges in the closure area don’t provide the clearance at high flows necessary for most watercraft to pass beneath them safely.
“We want to make sure that watercraft users don’t get caught in a dangerous situation,” said Silverthorne Police Chief Mark Hanschmidt in the release. “With the flow continuing to rise, this closure is necessary for public safety.”
The closure likely will stay in effect for some time as Denver Water announced it could increase outflows at Dillon Dam from 1,300 cfs to as much as 1,800 cfs by Friday.
Denver Water officials plan to reevaluate inflows to Lake Dillon Friday morning. Current inflows are at about 2,700 cfs. The reservoir should be full in about 15 days, according to Denver Water estimates.
Record inflow occurred in June 1995, when daily rates peaked at 3,408 cfs, according to Denver Water.
Blue River waters north, or downstream, of Sixth Street remain open to all watercraft; however, due to the risks associated with high river flows, it is suggested that only experienced watercraft users enter the river, the release stated.
Warning signage is being placed at river access locations to notify the public of the closure.