Kings River high water level brings in business for rafting companies, dangerous for others


FRESNO COUNTY, California- Warm weather has caused heavy snowmelt to bring in lots of business for rafting companies like Kings River Expeditions, brings in dangers for others.

“It’s high, it’s fun, it’s fast. It’s big!” exclaimed Kings River Expeditions Owner Justin Butchert.

Freezing cold water splashed into rafts that floated down the river. Fresno local Chris Lopez made the trip with his family to spend quality time together.

“Oh the water is cold,” said Lopez. “Right now at least, but it is just exhilarating.”

Each year, the water level fluctuates depending on how much rain and snow comes down throughout the year.

“It is big this year. It is double or more the normal flows,” said Butchert.

The white rapids created by the raging waters creates business for Butchert who has been running Rings River Expeditions for decades.

The high waters can also be dangerous.

“At this water level you really have to know the sports and know what you are doing,” said Butchert. “Private rafters are in trouble all the time.

However, when with experienced rafting guides the adrenaline rush can be exhilarating. All while getting drenched.

“Oh it was all positive,” said Lopez. “Beautiful environment. Rushing water. God’s country. Good time.”

Depending on the water level, the expeditions can start as early as the end of March and have the possibility of lasting all the way until August.

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