Western River Expeditions reports that late spring snow pack and rains have drastically improved the outlook for this season's rafting business along the Colorado River System.
This river system, built by flows from numerous western rivers, is providing as of now, positive impact on the company’s roster of trips on the Green and Colorado Rivers in Utah and Arizona. On the Green River these are adventures through Desolation Canyon, and on the Colorado River, trips through Westwater and Cataract Canyons. Trips in the Grand Canyon are also impacted because hydrologists anticipate increased releases from dams that affect river flows.
“A few weeks ago, we were looking at a very low water year. We were planning for it, we had prepared the guides and the gear for it, then it started to rain down low and snow up high. On May 5 the snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin was sitting at 41 percent of normal making it one of the driest years ever. Two weeks later, it had increased to 75 percent on average with some areas exceeding 100 percent. This is an unprecedented gain of snowpack so late in the water season,” said Brian Merrill, CEO of Western River Expeditions.
More snow in the mountains means more water in the rivers, and this company is now anticipating what Merrill called “a fantastic year.” After the snow began falling, “we quickly made adjustments in what style of rafts we will be using and the river guides are happy as clams. Judging from the reviews we are getting from our guests, they are also ecstatic about the predicted water levels.”
He added that the snowpack also represents an unexpected boost for the reservoirs on the Colorado River. Water managers are revising upwards predictions about lake levels that feed into this system including Lakes Powell and Mead, a boost for water-based recreation all along the Colorado River system.
As of the start of June, snowpack on the entire Colorado River System stood at 141.52 percent of the June 2 historic average. Only a few weeks ago the figures were discouraging as snowpack in the Colorado River basin stood at just a fraction of that. Up-to-the-minute snowpack reports are available at http://snowpack.water-data.com/uppercolorado/index.php
“We want to get this upbeat report out to rafting enthusiasts who may be concerned that the drought menacing California waters has spread into other river systems in the western United States,” added Merrill. “An above-average snowpack in the Northern and Central Rockies means we’ll have the best season in years for rafting on the Green and Colorado River systems in Utah.”
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center.