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Tubers not welcome (for a day): Littleton says tubing party was the reason behind closing the Platte

Posted at 8:58 PM, Jul 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-14 00:28:29-04

LITTLETON, Colo. -- Low water isn’t the only reason why a portion of South Platte River in Littleton will be closed on Saturday. That closure is being put in effect to stop a giant tubing party.

“The closure did have everything to do with that,” Littleton’s Mayor Debbie Brinkman told Denver7 on Friday.

The event, by “It Burns Joe Fitness,” was supposed to be a massive tubing float gathering. More than 3,500 people had RSVPed as “attending” on Facebook.

“Having an event of that size is not something that we are quite honestly, I myself, are not interested in,” the mayor added, saying that was the case “regardless of water level.”

The South Platte is low. City officials say it’s running at 20 cubic feet per second. Normally runs 100 to 500 cubic feet this time of year.

“The water’s not moving, it’s algae blooms, sharp rocks are exposed,” the mayor said.

Some tubers disagreed.

“We didn’t have to get out once. It was nice and deep,” Emmalee Brown said after her tubing run of the day.

Denver7 asked the city if the river would be closed if the large event wasn’t happening this weekend. The mayor responded, “I don’t believe so.”

The city says for any big event, including at local park or open spaces, if the event is open to the public and more than 100 people will be attending, you need a permit. And for an event as big as the float was supposed to be, a spokesperson says even if organizers would have applied for a permit it’s unlikely it would have been granted.

“I think it sucks because a lot of my friends go to this event every year,” Brown said.

“It’s an extreme event and this river is not intended to be treated that way,” Mayor Brinkman countered.

Park Rangers will be stationed at various entry points to the South Platte between C-470 and Belleview advising people the river is closed. It will reopen at 6 a.m. on Sunday.