Snowmelt creates perfect conditions for rafting on upper Kings River

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Kings River has been closed to boating, floating and swimming in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties due to the strong current.

A flood release of over 10,000 cubic feet per second is pouring out of Pine Flat Dam. But the upper Kings River above Pine Flat has been open for rafting trips since March.

"This is one of those blessed years, man," said Kings River Expeditions president, Justin Butchert. "We've had great weather and great water."

Butchert says many people seeking an exhilarating ride down the Kings weren't sure if it was available. They kept hearing about portions of the river being closed. The closures don't affect the Kings River above the dam.

This week's warmup is has been highly anticipated by rafters.

"We finally got a combination of hot weather and a big snowpack that's just primed to thaw and it's going to come tearing down the mountain," Butchert said.

The 10-mile ride in the Kings is a Class 3 run. The class scale tops out at six, which is defined as unrunnable.

Butchert describes ideal conditions along the Kings River as the snowmelt keeps feeding the rapids, "This is really what we wait for as a rafting company. The flows are just fantastic."

With such a heavy snowpack, Butchert expects Kings River Expeditions to book trips right up until the start of the school year.
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