The year’s ample snowfall made for all-time skiing during the winter; but the resulting melt is proving to be quite a challenge for rafting in Truckee this summer. At first, the river was dangerously high, even unlawful to enter. But now, there isn’t enough water to stop your behind from dragging on the bottom.
How did this fluctuation happen? Since Lake Tahoe is below its legal limit of 6,229.10 feet of elevation (and therefore not needing to be drained) and all water needs are being met downstream, the Lake Tahoe Dam had to be closed on July 12 by Federal Water Master Chad Blanchard.
The dam closure prevents a strong enough flow to conduct rafting operations. And companies like Truckee River Rafting were only on their 10th day of the season when they received the bad news. Aaron Rudnick, owner of TRR, commented on the closure, saying, “It’s been difficult. Most people don’t believe you when you say you’re not open. Several years of not enough water, and now there was too much.”
Two years ago, Truckee River Rafting couldn’t even operate, and only had 18 days last year. But Rudnick hopes for a solid end of season once flows return to normal, expecting to open again from late July until Labor Day.
Farther down the river, Tahoe Whitewater Tours, Tributary Whitewater Tours, and IRIE Rafting Company remain in business, as they run in other areas with stronger flow.