2018 has been among the driest years that Colorado has seen in the last century. This past winter, our corner of the state received only 10% of the snowfall we are used to. This lack of snow, which melts over the spring and summer months to feed our rivers and streams, has created unboatable, low flows on a majority of Colorado's rivers. We felt the low water sting here in Hotchkiss this spring. We were prepared to offer the first ever white water rafting tours on the high alpine rivers that flow into the North Fork Valley. Unfortunately, our inaugural rafting season was cancelled, as this year these rivers would not float our boats.
Here is the good news, the Gunnison River, where we operate our flagship SUP tours, is boatable all year every year. There are 4 big reasons why we are guaranteed great flows even in dry years: Blue Mesa Reservoir, Morrow Point Reservoir, Crystal Reservoir, and The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Yes, there are 3 enormous reservoirs and a national park just upstream of us. These reservoirs are able to store 1,058,016 acre feet of water. That is over 1,423 million cubic meters of water! There is also a minimum river flow requirement through the National Park, which means guaranteed SUP flows year round.
We are having the time of our lives this summer, running daily and overnight SUP tours on the Gunnison River. We feel fortunate to have this incredible waterway right in our backyard! Come join us on the river next time you need to get away. It will be there.