FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– The threat of devastating flooding along Colorado rivers is over for the time being now that peak snowmelt has come and gone. The lower water levels are exactly what rafters have been hoping for.

After above average snowmelt and a deadly spring along the Cache la Poudre River that included three deaths, the water has slowed to what is considered a medium flow. But there are still risks to getting into that water.

Rafting on the Poudre River (credit: CBS)

Rafting on the Poudre River (credit: CBS)

Rafters at Rocky Mountain Adventures in Fort Collins must go through river safety training before they head out onto the water.

“You’re with your family most of the time and a big group that’s taking care of you and a guide and if you do flip they told you how to get out of it,” said rafter Tiffany Backeberg.

Like many families the Backebergs plan to spend the 4th of July holiday on the Poudre River.

“We have family in town from Minnesota and whether the water was up or down, good or bad, we were going rafting,” said rafter Matt Backeberg.

They say recent drownings, including one death that happened when a private raft flipped in high water, are not a deterrent.

River conditions are different now. Snow melt has slowed and levels that had reached above average are calmer.

“As water starts to come down a little bit, rocks start creeping up which means rafts can bump into rocks,” said Rocky Mountain Adventures owner Ryan Barwick.

Barwick said with lower levels come new challenges but his crew is prepared. He also said for the first time since recent wildfires and flooding, the Poudre River is finally getting back to normal.

“What we’re seeing is the Poudre’s actually back to a much more natural state kind of pre-fire and it’s back to how we’re all used to and know and love the Poudre,” said Barwick.


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