BOISE - The long wait is over: The Boise River floating season starts this weekend.
Ada County Parks & Waterways announced that the season will kick off Saturday at Barber Park, and that all services - including the Boise River Raft and Tube equipment rental and shuttle service - will be fully operational.
Rentals start at 10 a.m., and the first shuttle departs Ann Morrison Park at 12 p.m.
This finally puts an end to the delay caused by high river flows after the severe winter and dangerous debris left in the water after spring flooding.
The river peaked at 9,660 cubic feet per second on June 6, but has dropped steadily in recent weeks. It was running at 1,500 cfs on Wednesday, and it was expected to drop to 1,000 cfs by the end of the week.
The latest opening date on record was July 15, 2011, officials said.
The Boise Fire Department will do a final debris sweep of the designated floating section between Barber Park and Ann Morrison Park before the season kicks off. However, officials remind floaters that the river is never clear of all potential hazards and to "float at your own risk."
The river is still cold and swift, and it's recommended that floaters wear proper clothing, footwear and a well-fitted personal floatation device (PFD). Floaters age 14 and younger are required by Idaho code to wear an approved PFD.
Alcohol and glass containers are prohibited, and floaters are required to use the designated takeout location on river left at Ann Morrison Park.
For more details, call the information line at (208) 577-4584.
The Boise Fire Department also announced Wednesday that the Dangerous River Condition has been lifted, and hat signs will be taken down in the next few days.
Fire Department Communications Manager Char Jackson said lifting the designation is a step Ada County takes into consideration for opening floating season, and that the department has done everything it can to mitigate hazards in the river. It also means that if someone needs to be rescued on the river, they won't be billed.