Summer Rafting Outlook

Our Missouri River as seen from lookout point in Harley Park, Boonville.
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A new advertising campaign in Colorado aims to get locals back to river rafting after last year's drop in business because of the drought. The campaign, called "Raft Now" will continue for the next few weeks.

One rafting company owner says the entire industry is making a push to get locals back on mountain rivers, after last summer's fires and low stream flows. In 2002, the rafting industry saw a 40% drop in the number of people taking river trips. So, the companies are targeting Colorado Springs and Denver for this year's summer business.

Although out of staters have been booking at normal rates so far this year, it's the locals that make up the backbone of the industry.

Bob Hamel, with Arkansas River Tours says he expects this year's rafting to be great, with the snowpack well above where it was at the same time last year. He says he expects a combination of rafting for people to experience.

Hamel says just because there are still water restriction in effect, doesn't mean we are in for another low flow summer in the mountains.

Starting Monday, Hamel's company will pull out the rafts, inflate them and get ready for the season to start.

The rafting season typically begins Memorial Day weekend.