Some rafting companies cancel whitewater trips because of safety concerns

The flows are just too dangerous on some sections of the Payette River.

This year’s extreme snowmelt is having yet another impact on some local businesses. Ironically, some rafting companies have canceled whitewater trips along the South Fork of the Payette River for the time being because there’s too much water.

“We run two trips on the South Fork. We run a half-day Class IV stretch and then up towards Lowman we run a full-day Class IV stretch. We have not be able to do those,” Cascade Raft and Kayak general manager Kenneth Long said.

Those trips equate to about a third of the rafting trips for companies like Cascade that have chosen not to run them because of safety concerns.

"It gets going so fast and it's so channelizing that if you were to fall out it would be very difficult to get you back towards the raft, just with the speed of the current,” Long said.

Not all rafting trips are canceled. Companies are still running their Class II and III trips along the Main Payette from Banks to Horseshoe Bend and on the North Fork of the Payette near Smiths Ferry.

“It is a different perspective with those big waves out there,” Long said.

High flows aren’t the only obstacle keeping people off the water.

“It's definitely been a little slower spring. A lot of that is associated with the weather more than just the high waters,” Bear Valley Rafting owner Phil White said.

However, White tells KTVB that although everyone is off to a slow start, they expect business to pick up soon.

“We'll definitely get a longer season out of it for sure this year,” White said.

Both Cascade and Bear Valley say flows along the South Fork are going down and anticipate they’ll be able to raft that section of the Payette within the next week.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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