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Outfitters expect busy whitewater season - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Outfitters expect busy whitewater season

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Despite the dry winter and spring good news is on the horizon for whitewater enthusiasts.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released its May forecast and the outlook is good for flows along the Arkansas River. The BOR said a predicted minimum of 10,000 acre feet of water will be available for recreational purposes during the whitewater season.

"This is great news after a winter where much of the state experienced lower-than-average snowfall and snowpack," said Rob White, park manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.

The release is part of the Voluntary Flow Management Program for the Arkansas River. The 27-year-old program is overseen by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, they can request that the BOR release up to 10,000 acre feet of water during the summer months if it is needed and available.

Peak summer vacation season typically runs from July 1 to August 15 and during that time the river needs to maintain a flow of at least 700 cubic feet per second.

"Luckily, the Upper Arkansas River Valley and the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project area received some of the best snow in the state. This means there should be plenty of water for rafters, kayakers, anglers and all the people who enjoy the Arkansas River," White said. "It should be a great summer on the river."

Last year alone close to 50 different commercial outfitters along the river took more than 225,000 people down the river in mid-to-wild rapids on routes ranging from just below Leadville, through Pine Creek, the Numbers, Browns Canyon National Monument, Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the Royal Gorge. 

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