by Linda Mumma


SIERRA FOOTHILLS (CBS13) — Rafting season is officially underway in the Sierra Foothills, about three weeks later than normal, thanks to the snowpack.

This season marks the 50th Anniversary for Oars Whitewater Rafting in Angels Camp.

“The beautiful weather is definitely getting people to think about getting on the water,” said regional manager Chris Moore.

The company runs trips on several area rivers and is expecting some of the best conditions in years. Moore said the snowpack has contributed to high water levels in the rivers and lakes.

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But with flows running high and fast, Moore said what may have been a fun swimming pool years ago may now have some swift undercurrents.

Experts are warning people to heed the warnings of the water danger.

Greg Kestel visited the Mokelumne River Thursday.

“I wouldn’t want to get in that with an intertube or cheaper raft,” Kestel said.

Rafting experts are recommending visitors use commercial-grade equipment such as life jackets and helmets. Or, experts say you should go out on the river with a professional rafting organization or guide specifically trained to handle the conditions.

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“They have the knowledge of the particular river you’re going to spend time on, they have the competency for whatever activity you’re participating in, and lastly and probably most important, they’re bringing that hands-on experience that’s required through training,” Moore said.

These suggestions to help you and your family stay safe while enjoying the river.

“We wouldn’t be here after 50 years if we weren’t doing something right,” Moore said.

While the season started later than usual because of the high flows, experts say it will also run longer. They’re expecting to run an extra six weeks, into mid-August.

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