High water causing safety concerns

Gunnison County Sheriff John Gallowich has closed stretches of two rivers due to a high volume of water.

Effective June 7 and until further notice, the Gunnison River from Almont to the Whitewater Park on Hwy. 50 and the Slate River from Gunsight Bridge to the bridge on Hwy. 135 at mile marker 25.5 will be closed to all watercraft.

The closure is due to safety concerns in regard to debris and low clearance under bridges.

“The vessles are not going to be able to clear under those bridges and of course there is going to debris coming down as well,” Gallowich said. “The volume is just too much and too high.”

Gallowich reported no incidents have occurred from the high water.

“This is our first step in dealing with high water and it’s going to get higher,” said Gallowich. “We know that and we’re trying to anticipate that.”

The Sheriff’s Office wants the pubic to know that for all other areas not identified above, please be aware that all rivers and streams in Gunnison County continue to run at bank-full conditions. All recreational users (boaters, fishermen, etc.) are urged to use extreme caution on and around the rivers. The rivers are fast, cold and carrying large amounts of debris. There could be numerous snags and debris jams, resulting in serious obstacles, as well as low clearances on bridges. Due to the volume of water being carried, the character of these rivers and streams is far different and more dangerous than during normal flows.

The Sheriff’s Office asks that the public not allow unsupervised children or pets close to these rivers and streams. Anyone on or near these rivers should be wearing appropriate personal floatation devices 

Beginner boaters and floaters are strongly advised to employ a professional rafting company if entering the water.

Three Rivers Resort Outfitting Manager Dirk Schumacher said that despite shutting down operations on the Gunnison River, rafting conditions are “perfect” on the Taylor River.