Kenna Rowley, left, and Kayla Maynes, both 9, paddle a raft down the Yampa River on Tuesday near the Ranney Street bridge. Local residents have about three weeks left to enjoy the Yampa River before water levels drop too low to float.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Kenna Rowley, left, and Kayla Maynes, both 9, paddle a raft down the Yampa River on Tuesday near the Ranney Street bridge. Local residents have about three weeks left to enjoy the Yampa River before water levels drop too low to float.

Moffat officials eyeing river level

State park: About 3 more weeks to float river in Craig

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Dave Robinson, left, Libby Beach, middle, and Cyndi Arnett float down the Yampa River on Saturday past Loudy-Simpson Park. Boating and tubing down the river is an inexpensive way for many area residents and visitors to cool off in the summer heat.

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Virgil Beaver reclines on a double tube while floating down the Yampa River on Tuesday under the Ranney Street bridge. Beaver took his daughter and her friend out to enjoy the warm day in cool surroundings.

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Nathan Baker, 10, left, helps Heather Vallem, middle left, Karra Juergens, middle right, and his mom, Julie Baker, carry a raft to the water Tuesday just west of Pebble Beach near Yampa Valley Golf Course.

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Megan Beaver, left, and Sadye Morgan, both 13, sit across from each other while floating down the Yampa River on Tuesday under the Ranney Street bridge.

The season for taking a cool float down the Yampa River in the summer heat, a favorite pastime for many Craig and Moffat County residents, could soon come to a close.

That’s according to Ron Dellacroce, manager of the Yampa River State Park.

He estimated that a section of the river many local residents use — from Yampa Valley Golf Course to South Beach — should be floatable for three more weeks.

It is one of the deepest river sections in the region, he said.

River water levels will soon see a drastic decrease, Dellacroce said, with snowmelt lessening and farmers irrigating fields after their first cut.

“People have to realize it’s a privilege to float,” he said. “We have to understand that, when the water drops to a level that you can no longer float using the surface of the water, then our season is over and that the landowners’ property rights definitely supercede any fun and games we might have.”

However, lower water levels did not deter Isadora Hitz, Jonnie Madsen or Mychaela Howard from relaxing on the water Tuesday in Craig.

There were a few parts where they were dragging on the bottom of the river, and at one point, Hitz said she thought her tube might pop. But, all three made it to Loudy-Simpson Park, where the group got out.

Hitz, who has floated the river with her parents a few times every summer for about eight years, said Tuesday was her favorite float of them all.

“This was the first time with no parents and just the friends,” she said. “We just talked about boys, gossip and the usual teenage stuff.”

The group was not alone on the river for the sunny afternoon.

Karra Juergens took her son, Blake, 7, to float the river with a group of her friends who work at Ridgeview Elementary School.

“It’s just great family fun,” Juergens said. “It’s great to come relax on the river, especially on a hot day like to today.

“We stop along the way and let the kids catch frogs, crawdads, and just have a good time.”

Blake’s friend, Nathan Baker, 10, added he preferred the river to swimming pools as a cooling off destination.

“It’s less crowded,” he said.

Yampa River State Park closed its first river access point of the season Monday at the Hayden Pump Station.

Dellacroce said he expects more to close within the week, most of them downstream, he said.

Comments

dorybrown 3 years, 8 months ago

One of the last free things to do in the summer and State Park officals have manage to take the fun out of it. 3 and a half more weeks and the kids will be back in school. Let them enjoy the river now! With any luck we will get the annual late afternoon thunderstorms which will help keep the water coming! Float on Craig!

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als362 3 years, 8 months ago

If they weren't wasting water trying to keep the stupid worthless squawfish alive, there would be plenty of water for irrigation and recreation.
Hundreds of millions of dollars, the use of the Yampa for sport fishing and tons of our water is being wated because of a few useless fish that no one with a brain of any kind cares about.
The only ones that do care about them are those pork barrel jerks that are lining their pockets by keeping them alive.
Everywhere else in the world there is a bounty on these useless fish but here we waste money and water on them. What a joke. This is one reason why the Endangered Species Act is such a waste. I know there are some species that deserve to be saved like eagles etc., but these fish are just a waste of everything.

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RiverPrincess 3 years, 8 months ago

I was surprised to see how few floaters don't use a life preserver while floating down the Yampa River. One year ago, the community lost a very highly regarded Craig native, who was wearing one and still lost her life. There must be different rules in other states, as I can’t remember a time on the rivers of California, Idaho, Utah, Washington, or Oregon, when having a life perserver wasn’t a requirement to run the rapids or float quietly along.

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