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Record-setting whitewater season expected in Idaho

Snowpack levels are above-average in river basins that count for most of the whitewater rafting and jet boating across the state.
Credit: courtesy photo
A man enjoys whitewater kayaking on an Idaho river.

BOISE, Idaho — Thanks to abundant amount of snow in Idaho's mountains, this year's whitewater rafting season should be record-setting, according to the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association.

Idaho snowpack levels are above-average in the river basins that count for most of the whitewater rafting and jet boating across the state.

"It just looks tremendous," said Jon Barker, owner of Barker River Expeditions. "We're really excited about this year."

Barker offers Owyhee River Trips and Jarbidge-Bruneau river trips in the southwest Idaho desert.

Snowpack level are particularly strong in the Owyhee and Bruneau river basins (130 and 121 percent of normal, respectively).

RELATED: Recent snowfall boosts water levels in most of Idaho's basins

The river season "is looking great," said Ron Abramovich, water supply specialist for NRCS Snow Survey in Idaho. "All of the snow is going to provide a great runoff season. That's good news for all of the outfitters and rafters in Idaho."

Idaho outfitters and guides say they expect river flows to stay higher for a longer period of time as this year's record snowpack melts well into the season, and that will allow outfitters to offer more trips this year. Overall, bookings are already up.

"Because of the strong economy, many outfitters have booked most, if not all of their trips this year, and they're starting to book trips for the 2020 season," said Jerry Hughes of Hughes River Expeditions. Hughes runs trips on the national wild and scenic Selway River and Middle Fork Salmon River.

If you haven't planned or booked your Idaho whitewater excursions yet, you may want to do so, and fast.