Arkansas River rafters looking to good season
PUEBLO — Whitewater rafters on the Arkansas River should have a good season due to plenty of water in the high country, even though southern Colorado is dealing with drought.
According to KRDO-TV, guides began their rafting season two weeks ago. Rafters are using smaller boats now as they wait for spring runoff to bring more water to the river.
Melting spring snow is filling up the Arkansas River, making for a promising outcome for whitewater rafting guides.
Kendra Pollard went on her first whitewater rafting trip Sunday. “I’m most excited just to be on the water and it’s nice out so that’s great, but I’m a little nervous to tip over and like the rocks and stuff scare me a little bit,” Pollard said.
James Whiteside, owner of Royal Gorge Rafting, said the season is young.
“June is where we start seeing the higher water flows and that can run all the way into July — just depends on what the summer does. It’s unpredictable,” Whiteside said.
Statewide, the high country snowpack was still at 95 percent of normal for Friday and 87 percent of average for the season, according to Mage Hultstrand of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Denver.
Low reservoir storage heading into the spring and summer seasons is still the bigger concern for water users. Because of the low early season snowpack, reservoir storage in the Colorado basin is still way below normal.
Even though Canon City wasn’t in the Waldo Canyon burn area, rafting companies along the Arkansas River experienced a nearly 20 percent drop in visitors last year. Companies are optimistic this year will be their chance to make a comeback.
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