The combination of historically low snowpack and early runoff are putting pressure on Colorado river guides, kayakers and canoeists. The first impact has been an early paddling season and lower flowing rivers.
"We really live on snowpack. That's what it comes down to," said Richard Ferguson, a trip coordinator for the Poudre Paddlers Canoe and Kayak Club, which serves northern Colorado.
He said low river flows already have forced him to cancel one trip scheduled in July on the Yampa River. A group outing that had been planned for Memorial Day had to be moved.
"A light snowpack means that the peak is very early," Ferguson said. "What happens is the season just disappears very quickly. What you have, essentially, is no water to paddle in."
Although he still plans to hit the rapids just about every other week for the time being, Ferguson predicts there won't be any paddling on the Poudre River by midsummer.
"At some point, you're scraping bottom and kind of beating up your boat," he said. "At some point, it gets to where it's really not worth it anymore."
According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the statewide snowpack was 7 percent of average as of Thursday, with more than half of all snow survey locations reporting no snow.
Link to full article at the Denver Post below: