Western River Expeditions Adapts To Record Low-Water Year
Western River Expeditions has made changes to adapt to a low-water year, only one year after one of the highest water years in recent memory on Utah’s Colorado and Green rivers. This year’s record-low run off is prompting concerns by some river outfitters for a soft rafting season.
But the low water level has its advantages, according to Western River Expeditions. In some instances, it can actually create bigger rapids than in high-water periods which can actually swallow up the rapids for a fast, but less exciting ride. In addition, the water is warmer. To adapt to low water levels, the company is using smaller boats and more paddle rafts instead of larger row and motorized craft. Also, it is using more inflatable kayaks and, new for this year, stand-up paddleboards.
“For those who equate excitement and fun only with high water, we’re here to say that’s just wrong,” said Brian Merrill, CEO of Western River Expeditions. Because camping is intrinsic to the company’s formula for river fun, Merrill explained that camps and beaches are better at low water. “They are bigger and more numerous,” he said. Merrill noted that day trips in Moab, Utah, are up 15 percent over last year, which was a record high-water year.
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah rafting and Idaho rafting trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting enthusiast Jack Currey. Today it pursues a “guiding green” philosophy and belongs to some of the top environmentally conscious organizations in the world, including Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association, American Rivers, Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics, Utah Rivers Council, America Outdoors and National River Cleanup Week.