Tahoe City’s rafting companies resume operations on Truckee River
August 8, 2017
Tahoe City's two rafting companies, Truckee River Rafting and Truckee River Raft Co., are back in action after receiving the call late on Thursday, Aug. 3, from Federal Water Master Chad Blanchard that water would again be released from the Lake Tahoe Dam.
The two companies had a delayed start to the season, because the lake's elevation was above the maximum of 6,229.10 feet, resulting in unsafe conditions for rafters as water was being released from the dam into the Truckee in order to get the lake below the allotted maximum elevation.
Lake Tahoe's elevation was at 6,228.87 feet as of Monday, Aug. 7, according to the water master's daily report.
Once the river reached a safer flow rate, the companies were able to open for just under two weeks. But as the lake level receded below its maximum elevation, and demand for water downstream was being met by enough runoff entering the Truckee River through snow melt and its tributaries, the dam was closed, forcing the two companies to suspend operations until receiving the call from Blanchard that the dam would reopen.
"We got the call from the federal water master late Thursday night," Truckee River Rafting Owner Richard Courcier said. "We scrambled to get all of the employees back … it's amazing how fast word got around."
The companies had been sidelined since July 12, but once the call to open the dam was made, customers wasted little time getting on the water during the first weekend back at the headwaters of the Truckee River in Tahoe City.
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"Today's been fantastic," said Truckee River Raft Co. Owner Aaron Rudnick of the second day back on the river on Saturday, Aug. 5. "Yesterday was definitely a slow build with people just realizing we're there. We had to cancel all of our reservations for Friday, earlier in the week, and then ended up being open on Friday. We were trying to cancel several days in advance so people could adjust their plans."
The window of business has been inconsistent for the two companies — first with too much water coming down the river, and then not enough. Still, both companies said they expect to see more operating days this season than that of past years.
"We had 18 days last year, and nothing the year before," Courcier said. "This (year) is way better."
Both Rudnick and Courcier said they expect to remain in business until the beginning of September.
"We talked to the federal water master, and I think we are going to stay open until Labor Day," Courcier said.
Both of the rental companies offer self-guided floats down a section of the Truckee River near Tahoe City, which cost between $28 and $45, depending on time of day and age of rafter.
For more information or to make a reservation visit TruckeeRiverRafting.com or TruckeeRiverRaft.com.
"We're back come see us," Rudnick said.