#Runoff news: #ArkansasRiver below Lake Pueblo State Park dam reopens to casual tubers after flows return to normal summer levels — #Colorado Parks & Wildlife

From KRDO.com (Andrew McMillan):

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on Thursday reopened a section of the Arkansas River below the dam at Lake Pueblo State Park to people on inner-tubes and non-whitewater boats.

Swimming, however, remains prohibited as always, even in life jackets.

The decision comes more than a month after CPW closed a 1-mile stretch of the river from Lake Pueblo State Park east to Pueblo Boulevard. CPW deemed the section unsafe for boaters and tubers due to irregular, high flows from melting mountain snowpack.

Also Thursday, the Pueblo Police Department and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office announced they were reopening to tubers and boaters the Arkansas east of Pueblo Boulevard all the way to the Otero County line.

At the time of the closure on June 11, river levels had swollen to near flood stage in places and pushed the rate of flow above 4,500 cubic feet per second (cfs). The average rate of flow in the Arkansas this time of year is 2,200 cfs.

“We are happy to lift the restriction and resume normal operations,” said Lake Pueblo State Park Manager Monique Mullis. “During run-off, river flows in this section can change daily depending on how much water the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation releases from the lake on a given day. But the runoff has peaked and flows should be gradually dropping the rest of the summer.”

In 2015, the river below the dam was closed for about three weeks.

From The Denver Post (John Meyer):

CROA said rafting on the Upper Colorado north of Winter Park and the Lower Colorado through Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction will last into October, as will be the case with Yampa near Steamboat Springs. In the Durango area, which saw meager flows a year ago due to drought, the Animas should support rafting through September. Sections of the Arkansas likely will be raftable through September and, closer to Denver, Clear Creek should have rafting well into August.

From Westword (Michael Roberts):

According to Hattie Johnson, Southern Rockies stewardship director for American Whitewater, an organization that represents outdoor sports aficionados, river conservationists and more than a hundred local paddling club affiliates across the country, the higher-than-normal flows in these areas don’t necessarily mean they should be considered off-limits. But extra caution should be exercised…

Especially if it’s running high. Click to access updated water-level information about Colorado rivers and streams from American Whitewater.

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