Tue June 28, 2011

Poudre Rafting Outfits Report Less Business

Some rafting companies along the Poudre River in Fort Collins say business is down. That’s despite having some of the best water in years.

Mountain Whitewater Descents in North Fort Collins is sending fewer customers up the Poudre Canyon this year for rafting adventures. Owner Brad Modesitt says business has decreased at least 25 percent this year. He says media coverage over high runoff and last week’s downing death has led some customers to believe the river is too dangerous to float.

“People are thinking it might be higher than it is,” he says. “Actually the water last year was substantially higher than it is this year.”

Peak flows so far have been less than 2010. Modesitt says some are also confused about recreational access to the river, in which inner tubes are banned but commercial rafting is allowed.

“People are having a great time,” he says. “It’s just they read these headlines and they’re getting spooked about the high water.”

Alex Mickel, a board member with Colorado Rafting Association, says he hasn’t heard any reports of business suffering along the Poudre. Statewide he says he’s seeing the opposite.

“We don’t assess a season until it’s over as far as the total numbers of people participating in rafting,” he says. “But I think it’s going to be one of the better seasons in a long time.”

At least one other business, A1 Wildwater Rafting in Fort Collins, says they’ve seen a decrease in trips. The rafting season starts in May and typically goes through September.