Temporary closures for parts of Kaweah, Kern and Tule rivers

The melting Sierra snowpack is creating fast-moving, frigid water and unstable banks.

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Saturday, May 6, 2023
Temporary closures for parts of Kaweah, Kern and Tule rivers
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Temporary closures are in place for parts of the Kaweah, Kern and Tule rivers.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fast currents and water levels are a major concern along rivers in Tulare County.

That's why local law enforcement is asking people to stay away.

A historic snow pact is prompting fast-rushing waters through rivers in Tulare County.

That's why The Tulare County Sheriff's office is asking anyone who is not experienced to stay away, especially because these waters can be deadly.

"We had an individual who unfortunately went into the Kaweah River to try and save someone else and that individual unfortunately has not been found. Our rescuers can't even get in the water because of the conditions," says Ashley Ritchie with the Sheriff's office.

Seasoned kayakers and water rafters are allowed in the water with the appropriate gear.

One local white water rafting business owner says if it wasn't for this exception his business could sink.

"It'd be really detrimental to my business. It's a difficult thing for any business to endure so we hope it doesn't come to that," mentions Amicaya Frediani, owner of Mountain Descents.

Despite having decades of water rafting experience and running his business for 7 years, Amicaya understands the dangers of these fast-moving waters.

"We will do it in a safe manner, we will make sure if need be we will pause our trips in extreme high water but other than that it is all a go," he ensures.

The local water rafting community say it's these waters that keep their business running through the entire year. So they are happy to be able to continue business as usual through the entire month.

However, the Tulare County Sheriff's office says people who are not experienced should not be getting in the water.

River closures include Kaweah River at Cobble Knoll and Slick Rock Recreation areas, sections of the Kern River, within the county starting at Dry Meadow Creek And sections of the Tule River from National Monument to Lower Coffee camp are off limits to the public.

Although there are exceptions for permitted commercial outfitters and experienced kayakers and rafters, they must be wearing the appropriate gear, including a Type 3 or 5 whitewater life jacket is required, no lake or pool life jackets, a high-grade white water raft or kayak, and a whitewater helmet.

Restrictions include no swimming or inner tubing.

TCSO mentions Lake Isabella is a great alternative for people looking to swim and be by the water and always be aware of children near the river's edge.

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