Boise River floating season on hold, cutting into profits

Posted at 3:37 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 19:12:51-04

Beautiful weather in the Treasure Valley has many dreaming of summer plans, but if your plans include floating the Boise River, you might have to rethink your agenda. 

Water levels still above flood stage have many questioning if there will be a float season at all during 2017. 

"At this point, we don;t really know," Ada County Parks & Waterways Director Scott Koberg said. "We're kind of in a sit and wait period just like everybody else."

The ideal flow to float the Boise River is less than or at 1,500 cubic feet per second. Tuesday morning at the Glenwood Bridge, the river was flowing at about 8,750 CFS. 

"The river is still running about six times the highest possible floating flow that we would allow, so we've got a long way to go," Koberg said.

A normal floating season at Barber Park usually runs from the first day of summer to Labor Day, but, this year, it could be much shorter or nonexistent. 

"Chances are, it'll be a later-than-typical float season opening," Koberg said. "We're hopeful that we have a float season."

Without a float season on the horizon, the high water levels cut into the county's bottom line. 

"If we don't have flows that are in the range that we need them to be, it can also affect our revenue," Koberg said. "It's a water-based, snow-based, flow-based type of industry."

Ada County currently has a vendor contract with Zeller Recreation Inc. The company manages the Barber Park shuttle service and tube rentals. 

"We had to add some language to that contract this year," Koberg said. "That's currently under review. That provides contingencies of a late, a really late opening, an extreme condensed season, and, possibly, no season at all."