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Melting Snow Equals Cash Flow For Rafting Industry

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Water isn't the only thing flowing in Colorado right now -- all the melting means more cash flow for one Colorado industry.

The river rafting season is starting earlier than normal as rafting in April is a rare sight.

Rafting on the Blue River (credit: CBS)

Denver Water has been regulating its outflow at the Dillon Reservoir dam to get ready for all the snow to melt. Right now the output is around 700 cubic feet per second and there's already one rafting company taking advantage of all the water.

"Today is the start of our 2014 rafting season," Campy Campton with Kodi Rafting said on Thursday.

It's come about a week or two earlier than normal. The above average snowpack is starting to melt, and that means rivers are already moving.

"We're from Omaha, Neb. We're here on our kids' spring break and we're just experiencing all of Colorado's fun activities," Kami Shalhoob said.

Shalhoob was asked if her family was skiing and rafting during the same vacation.

"Exactly, a little crazy," she replied.

"This is really early, especially for the Blue River, but we had some folks that are interested in boating today and we were coming out anyway, so we brought them along for the fun," Campton said. "This is one of the few rivers in the state of Colorado that's solely dependent upon dam release for the river to flow.

"We boated the Blue the last time in 2011. We saw enough water to come down here commercially and boat and have fun."

"Fun, really fun," Shalhoob said. "We really didn't think this white water rafting would be possible at this time of year, but we're game for whatever's available."

With more snow still on the peaks the next few months may be the best in years on Colorado rivers.

"It's shaping up to be a good one all the way around and we're looking forward to a great 2014 rafting season," Campton said.

The River Outfitter's Association said there are other places like the Animas River around Durango, the Colorado River near Glenwood and the Arkansas River around the Royal Gorge that are also seeing companies get an early jump on the season.

Most crowds are two months away, so companies say this time of year is mostly a locals market and the best time to go.

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