Go Play: Grand Valley’s stretch of Colorado River still open for recreation
COLORADO’S BOATING FATALITIES IN 2014
July 24: Arkansas River
July 12: Arkansas River
July 11: Arkansas River
July 6: Blue River in Summit County
July 5: Colorado River in Grand County
June 28: Arkansas River
June 23: Arkansas River
June 16: Roaring Fork River
June 15: N. Sterling Reservoir
June 14: Arkansas River
June 10: Arkansas River
June 7: Clear Creek
June 4: Cache La Poudre River in Larimer County
May 31: Crystal River in Gunnison County
May 26: Colorado River in Mesa County
Sept. 2: Colorado River in Mesa County
SOURCE: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
With autumn leaves and cooler temperatures sweeping the valley, for most folks river recreation is over for the season. For some hard-core river rats, it will still continue as long as there’s enough water to paddle.
According to Shawn Montgomery, Grand Junction Fire Department fire information coordinator, many places in the Colorado River — at least in Mesa County’s stretch — is still five feet deep, with some shallow areas as well. And Heather Benjamin, public information officer for Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed there were currently “no restrictions in place.”
“Right now cubic feet per second is 6,000,” Montgomery explained on Tuesday, Sept. 30. “That’s high for this time of year; the average is 3,600. The reason why is the heavy rain. It’s also more dangerous right now because you have a lot of debris in the water. There are hang-up hazards. You just have to be super careful.”
Montgomery also stressed the importance of always wearing a coast-guard approved life jacket while recreating in the water, along with the necessity of hydration even when it’s colder outside.
“Obviously drugs and alcohol are not recommended,” he added. “Know what you’re doing; go with someone that knows the river; carry a cell phone; and make sure someone knows where and when you’re putting in and an expected time to put out.”
Other factors to consider are the ever-changing nature of the river, hidden obstacles, and strainers (areas that can snag a water craft in fast-moving water, like trees).
WRAPPING UP THE SEASON
Grand Valley’s two rafting outfitters — Adventure Bound in Grand Junction and Rimrock Adventures in Fruita — are currently wrapping up group river trips after an extended season.
“This fall water was much higher than it’s been,” Adventure Bound owner/operator Tom Kleinschnitz said, who reported “fantastic water” between Moab and Lake Powell recently.
Even so, Kleinschnitz reported that business volume was slightly down this season overall.
“We seem to be running the same number of trips, but with less people,” he said.
Adventure Bound currently has one more trip on the books — eight days in Desolation Canyon, which is on the Green River in Utah.
Travis Baier, owner/operator of Rimrock Adventures, confirmed a better-than-average rafting season. His last group river trip on the books — a bus tour — happened Tuesday, Sept. 30.
“Overall we’re up from the past couple years for sure,” Baier said. “Water conditions are quite a bit better. We had a good snowpack this spring and significant rain fall later in summer, which kept the river higher.”
Rimrock Adventures would still consider booking charter trips this fall, he noted, and raft rentals are still going strong.
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