Poor Rafting Season


Arkansas River rafting outfitters say they suffered a disastrous summer and rafting revenues could be down asmuch as 50 percent. Outfitters are required to turn in their commercial use reports to the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area by November First. Thereports detail trip and customer numbers. It could be a couple of months before exact figures are calculated. Recreation Area spokesman Mike Walker predicts business is down 55 percent. Outfitters agree the drought had a huge affect on the summer boating season. But they say the state's numerous wildfires caused the biggest drop in business because national attention scared away potential customers. A decrease in the number of rafting customers also means fewer tourism dollars for the region.