California's Scenic Rivers Help Camping Trade

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June 9, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

As summer heats up, many families will be heading to scenic rivers throughout California, which offer the full gamut of river rafting experiences, from gentle tube rides to thrilling white water rapids. 

And while the Sierra Nevada has had another year of below normal precipitation, even Southern Sierra river flows are expected to be strong enough for white water rafting through the July 4th weekend, according to a news release promoting camping in California. 

"June will be a decent month," said Kenny Bushling, owner of Kern River Tours, one of several river-rafting companies that provides tours along the upper Kern River. "Right now, the Lickety Splits are running at Class II and III." 

That's good news for private campgrounds in the Kernville area, which accommodate river rafting enthusiasts. But even when water levels decline, people will still flock to the river, if only to relax and cool off. 

"We get a lot of people who just come to relax," said Beverly Demetriff, manager of Frandy Park in Kernville. "Some people will put their folding chairs in the river and sit in the water and relax all day." 

But there are other areas in California where water flows are controlled by dams, which help ensure consistent water flows throughout the summer. This includes the South Fork of the American River near Coloma in the Sierra Nevada's historic Gold Rush country. 

"We expect the river to be consistent for the season," said Daniella Faieta, co-owner of the Coloma Resort in Coloma, which works with an outside company to provide whitewater rafting, river tubing and kayaking trips. "Guests are picked up at the campground and brought back to the campground after their day's activities," Faieta said. "They can also purchase inner tubes and life vests in our general store for float trips." 

Many campgrounds that are close to California's scenic rivers are within a short driving distance of major cities. Coloma Resort, for example, is only an hour's drive from Sacramento without traffic, while Casini Family Ranch & River Bend, which borders the Russian River, is less than two hours from San Francisco. 

Casini Family Ranch offers tubing, kayaking and canoeing opportunities. "A lot of people will start kayaking or tubing six miles north of us in Guerneville and spend the day floating down to our campground," said Jenny Summers, reservations manager for Casini Family Ranch. Others, she said, opt to simply float around the campground, which is built on a peninsula that sticks out into the river. 

Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), said river rafting enthusiasts can find campgrounds that offer river-rafting opportunities by checking "The website has a search function in the activities section that allows people to find campgrounds with river rafting opportunities," Sipe said, adding that nearly 90 private California campgrounds offer convenient access to rivers for rafting, tubing and kayaking.

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