Fast rivers keep rafting companies more than afloat
SUMMIT COUNTY – Last winter, heavy snowfall kept skiers happy, and now snowmelt is causing cash to flow into rafting companies. Performance Tours, out of Breckenridge, and Kodi Rafting, out of Frisco, broke records with early season rafting trips. Performance had its strongest start in the 21 years it has been in business, and Kodi has its strongest start in the 20 years it has been running rivers. Performance owner Kevin Foley and Kodi co-owner Christy Campton attribute the high volume of customers to increased water flow and warm weather. The Arkansas River peaked last week but hasn’t dropped significantly since then, Foley said. The river includes popular sections called Brown’s Canyon, south of Buena Vista; The Numbers, north of Buena Vista; and Royal Gorge, near Cañon City. “It remains to be seen how long weíll stay at the water levels we’re at,” Foley said. He thinks the levels will continue running at a good rate because in the past, he’s seen more sustained run-off after early winter snow accumulations. Clear Creek River has higher water levels than anytime last summer, said Rachel White, manager of Good Times Rafting out of Breckenridge.The Blue River below Dillon has been running at a high level for the past 10 days and should continue to run strong for about another week, Campton said. It peaked at 1,020 cubic feet per second (cfs). The Colorado River near Kremmling, a stretch popular with families, is running a little above average and runs well into September, she said. The Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir isn’t running strong yet. Itís at about 350 cfs, and White likes to see it at about 500 cfs, she said. She’s hoping the flow increases in the next few weeks but said water levels can rise anywhere between Memorial Day and Labor Day, depending upon when the Dillon Reservoir releases more water. As of Thursday, inflow into Dillon Reservoir was 1,037 cfs, and outflow was 707 cfs. The reservoir reached its peak outflow June 9, at a little more than 1,000 cfs. “But there’s always the possibility that we could get a heavy rainfall and the inflow could come up to the reservoir. Then it would spill out, and the outflow could go higher than 1,000,” said Bob Peters of the Denver Water Board. Green Mountain Reservoir will fill by this coming week, which is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule, said spokesperson Kara Lamb. In the last four or five years, the reservoir has built a reputation as a late season reservoir, meaning the Western Slope taps other water sources before requesting water from Green Mountain. The late release results in nice flows in the Lower Blue during late summer, Lamb said. The late release results in nice flows in the Lower Blue during late summer, Lamb said.
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