Outfitters, city officials urge caution while recreating near Provo River over holiday weekend

May 25, 2023, 7:42 PM

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PROVO CANYON, Utah – The Provo River is swelling with runoff just as Memorial Day weekend approaches and as Utahns plan to enjoy the outdoors.

“We haven’t seen this level in quite some time,” Steve Myers, the owner of High Country Adventure said. “A lot of mud’s coming in. This is about the dirtiest I’ve seen it in several, several years.”

For more than 30 years, Myers has helped people raft, kayak and tube the Provo River. This spring he’s warning inexperienced visitors that tubing is too dangerous right now because of the swift current.

“It wants to push you into the banks,” he said of the current. “So if you’re in a tube, you’re scrambling. You’re going to hit rocks, you’re going to hit trees. You’re going to flip over.”

Myers is still open for business but is pausing tube rentals until the water levels go down.

“We’re not telling people to cancel,” he said. “If anyone wants to tube, we’re happy to put them in a raft or kayak at the tubing rate.”

In addition to the swift current, there’s also concern about dangerous debris and the cold water temperature.

“These are extremely high flows,” said Shane Winters, the director of Provo’s public services division. “We are anticipating high river flows for the next month, month and a half.”

Winters said the river will be approaching flood stage because of increased releases from Deer Creek Reservoir and high runoff from the North Fork of the Provo, which passes by Sundance resort.

He understands that residents want to get outside for the holiday weekend but cautions that the river will be rising daily.

“Stay away,” he urged. “Keep a safe distance from the river. Parents watch your children, watch your pets.”

“Don’t get that close. You can see it 20 feet away, 30 feet away just fine. Stay away. You never know what could happen,” Myers said. “If you do have little kids, I wouldn’t even bring them near the water unless you’re going with an outfitter with lifejackets.”

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Outfitters, city officials urge caution while recreating near Provo River over holiday weekend