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Tubing restrictions to remain in place on Clear Creek until flow drops steadily below 800 cfs

Kayakers must use helmets, life vests
Kayaker on Clear Creek
Posted at 12:48 AM, Jun 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-12 02:48:10-04

GOLDEN, Colo. -- If you're thinking about floating down Clear Creek in Golden this weekend, think again.

Water levels remain high because of snow melt, so officials say the tubing, rafting and swimming restrictions will remain place until there is a sustained drop in water flow levels below 800 cubic feet per second.

It has been averaging over 900 cubic feet per second for the last three days.

The swift moving creek is a beacon for water enthusiasts.

Golden Park Ranger Ryan Silknitter said he stopped about ten tubers on Thursday who were trying to get into the river.

"I basically told them, guys, it's closed for your own safety. We don't want anyone getting hurt," he said.

Kayakers are allowed, as long as they're wearing a life vest and helmet.

Brad Johnson, his wife, Krissy, and their two sons, were anxious to get into the water, initially.

They brought inner tubes all the way from North Caroline specifically to go tubing in Clear Creek.

"When we first saw the water, we were like oooh, this is scarier than we anticipated," Brad told Denver7.

He said he tubed in Clear Creek ten years ago, when he came to Golden to visit a college friend.

He remembers how fun it was.

"It must have been a different time of year," he said.

"I’ve heard it talked about for the last ten years," Krissy Johnson said. "As long as we’ve been planning this, it was like oh, we have to do this creek, it’s so much fun and it’s whitewater."

After seeing the strong flow, Krissy told Denver7, she's okay staying out of the water.

"It’s not worth the risk," she said. "I’m just totally fine watching the kayakers and leaving it up to them."

Kayaker Joe Otto said it's a blast working out in Clear Creek.

"When it’s really fast, it’s a really good rush," he said. "It’s a lot of fun. Its dangerous too. It’s easy to flip."

Silknitter said it's easy to underestimate the strength and swiftness of the water.

"The rapid that’s right here is actually 12 to 14 feed deep. People just don’t realize that," he said.

Silknitter added that rangers are just trying to educate tubers and swimmers.

He said they won't issue tickets unless they see someone willfully ignoring the rules.

"We’re not going to give it to you the first time," he said, "but if you try to sneak around and try to get in, then just for your own safety, we’ll end up giving you a ticket."

That ticket could pack a wallop on your wallet.

"It would be a $100 fine," he said.

When asked how long Clear Creak will remain closed to tubers and swimmers, Silknitter replied, "We’re expecting maybe a week or two at the minimum, because it is a slow run off with the snow, but it's been slowly gaining speed."

The park ranger added that once the water flow gets below 800 cfs, and shows steady decline, the Police Chief and Fire Chief will get together and talk about reopening.