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High Water Good, Bad For Rafting Business

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Rafters brave the rushing water in Clear Creek (credit: CBS)

Rafters brave the rushing water in Clear Creek (credit: CBS)

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IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)- This year’s record snowpack is starting to melt and that means the water levels are high on Colorado’s creeks and rivers. The rushing water is both good and bad for the rafting business.

“Today is our busiest day of the year so far,” said Clear Creek Rafting Company founder John Rice. “When the water level is high, you get bigger waves, bigger splashes, and that’s just what people always go for.”

The rafters are having a good time.

“We hit a lot of good splashes, lot a good waves came over the boat,” said one rafter.

Rice started Clear Creek Rafting in 1992. He said this is about as good as it gets.

“It’s been a great season so far. The weather has been absolutely perfect for us,” said Rice.

In the past week a rafter died on the Cache la Poudre River and a kayaker died on the Eagle River.

Rafting guides pay close attention to the river and the water levels.

“No matter what the water level is, we always have a section that’s open for rafting. The river is never closed,” said Rice. “We probably have as many accidents at low water as we do at high water.”

There could be a segment of the river that needs to be closed, because of intense rapids or a bridge.

“If we can’t get underneath the bridge here in Idaho Springs, that is the red flag where we have to start altering our trips,” said Rice.

When water levels are high, Clear Creek Rafting put safety kayaks ahead of the rafts.

“We also have shore support. Our bus driver follows them down and stands with a throw bag at notorious spots where people may fall in,” said Rice.

Rice also said this could be one of his longest rafting seasons ever because the snowpack is so deep and is melting at a steady rate.

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