Colorado River Could See Highest Water Levels In 25 Years, Rafters Rejoice!
The latest projection from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center has projected the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon to have a 50% chance of peaking at over 80,000 cfs. Since 1985 the Colorado River has only reached 80,000 cfs one time.
By: Walker Mackay
A cubic foot of water is basically the size of a basketball. If one imagines 80,000 basketballs passing a given spot on the riverbank each second one may grasp the flow the Colorado River could reach. With the Grand Canyon regulated by Glen Canyon Dam the best place to feel the wild Colorado is Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park. The Grand Canyon has seen a few man made floods over the last 20 years. These man made floods were 45,000 cfs releases. Barely half of what the Colorado River could see this year in Cataract Canyon.
This high flow should be great for the rafting industry, which has struggled over the last few years with the slumping economy. Cataract Canyon is a must see river section of the Colorado River at any level, but at 80,000 cfs it is truly awe-inspiring. and does not happen very often. David Mackay, the owner of Colorado River & Trail Expeditions (http://www.crateinc.com) has been rafting the river since 1965. He said his company has been updating their 35’ motorized rafts this year in preparation for the high water. His company generally uses 22’ rafts until the water gets above 45,000 cfs. Above 45,000 cfs they transition to the larger 35’ rafts. According to Mackay “the rapids of Cataract Canyon during high water are larger than anything in the Grand Canyon.”
If one is thinking about trying to get on a rafting trip during the high water plan on booking a trip somewhere between the May 15 and June 30. Since the Colorado River’s flow was first recorded in 1923 the highest flow ever occurred on May 27, 1983 at 114,900 cfs. The second highest peak occurred on June 27, 1984 at 104,700 cfs.
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If you'd like more information about this topic, are interested in a press trip, or to schedule an interview with Walker Mackay, please call Walker at 800/253-7328 or e-mail Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org subject High Water Cataract Canyon. For rafting information visit Colorado River & Trail Expeditions website at http://www.crateinc.com or call them directly at (800)253-7328.
Page Updated Last on: Apr 23, 2011