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Partial, temporary recreational ban on Clear Creek as spring runoff increases

Manafort

A partial and temporary recreational water ban is in place on Clear Creek in Jefferson County as water flows pickup and the high country snowpack runoff intensifies.

The temporary restrictions apply to Clear Creek in unincorporated Jefferson County, as well as portions of Clear Creek within the City of Golden, including Vanover Park, according a sheriff’s office news release. Wheat Ridge has also activated temporary restrictions based on safety concerns.

Water activities prohibited by the county order include all single-chambered air inflated devices such as belly boats, inner tubes and single chambered rafts, as well as “body-surfers” and swimming, the release said.

Kayaks, whitewater canoes and multi-chambered professionally guided rafts, river boards, and stand-up paddleboards are exempt but users are encouraged to observe extreme caution.

Floating and partially dammed debris in the creek, along with the speed, strength and increased depth of the water has raised safety concerns. The county limitation went into effect at noon Wednesday.

Reasons for the ban, according to the sheriff’s office, include:

  • Clear Creek is a Type IV water area, which increases public risk due to cold water temperature, blasted rock, undercut rocks, potential strainers, and other safety considerations.
  • Water flows are currently over 900 cubic feet per second (CFS) and are expected to rise. Flows over 800 CFS are considered a potential danger for inexperienced water users.
  • Water depths will continue deepen during the peak of the mountain snowpack melts. 

Authorized users must have a Type I, Type III, or Type V Coast Guard-approved paddling life jacket and a water use designed helmet. The restrictions are temporary and will be in place until water flows decrease, the sheriff’s office said. The limitations will be strictly enforced and violators face a class 2 petty offense summons, with a $100 fine.

Other areas along the Front Range have also enacted safety restrictions on waterways.

 

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