By Michael Abeyta
LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)– John Blackshire is an experienced paddle boarder. You can usually catch him on the South Platte River.
“I live on the river and I stand up paddleboard all the time,” he says, “It’s kind of an escape from the city, right in the heart of the metro area. It’s really nice.”
Lately, he’s noticed, water levels aren’t what they used to be, “This summer they’ve been unusually low, which is unfortunate.”
Despite the low levels, on Friday he and his colleagues took the afternoon off work to do a little team building on the South Platte River, before it closes for the weekend.
The City of Littleton is closing the river to floating July 14 and 15.
“We shut it down primarily because of the flow. It’s very, very low flow. There’s no water actually entering the river from the dam,” said Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman.
She knows it’s going to be hot over the weekend tempting people to take a dip. Plus, there’s a rumor that an un-permitted event is planned for Saturday. With the water levels as low as they are, they decided to shut the river down.
“Engaging with the river at this point can only damage the river bottom and the river sides. It’s detrimental to the wildlife in the river,” said Brinkman.
She also says it could be dangerous for people getting into the water.
“The rocks are obviously hazardous when there’s no water to protect the sharp edges,” says Brinkman.
Being an experienced standup paddle boarder, John can manage on the shallow waters, but he has some advice for novices who think they might want to take a trip on the South Platte River once it opens up again.
“Check out the water levels. They can change and do fluctuate coming out of the dam. Know your water safety,” said Blackshire.
Park rangers will be stopping people at the trailheads to make sure they stay out of the water on Saturday and Sunday.