Dry Conditions Restrict California Rafting
Businesses in California’s Kern River Valley are being hit hard by Mother Nature, KERO-TV, Bakersfield, reported.
Parts of the Kern River are still very low and that’s affecting everything from rafting companies to campgrounds in the Kern River Valley.
“It’s drastic; I mean we’re saying prayers,” said Frandy Campground Manager Beverly Demetriff.
Demetriff has had close to 30 cancelations at her campground within the last two weeks.
“The refunds hurt you because that’s your startup capital. That’s the money you spend for the new paint to make everything look fresh to even bringing in Dumpsters.”
Demetriff usually depends on a busy summer to get through the year.
“Normally I’m completely booked up the weekend prior to Memorial (Day), but this year I’m not.”
A shorter rafting season is to blame for that. Two weeks ago businesses found out there wouldn’t be any rafting on the lower Kern River which is below Lake Isabella. Then they found out rafting season in the upper Kern will come to an end later this month.
“It was a shock. We were told by the water master that they would at least be rafting until the end of June and now they’ve cut it off,” said Sue Wiruth, owner of Kern Lodge.
The canceled rafting season cost businesses like the Kern Lodge more than $30,000.
“I’ve owned this place for 20 years and this is the worst I’ve seen it.”
That’s why business owners are hoping people across Kern County will plan a trip to the Valley even if there isn’t any rafting.
“We’re a tourist based area and it’s not bone dry as you can see behind me. If people can come up and spend a little money you’re going to keep us around another year and guarantee Mother Nature will smile on us again and bring snow in winter and we’ll be up again,” said Tom Moore, co-owner of Sierra South Paddle Sports.
“We have kayaking, wind surfing, tubing, all kinds of water activities to do,” said Kernville Chamber of Commerce President Cheryl Borthick.