Whitewater Rafting Businesses Prep as Season Nears

CLOQUET, Minn. – Recent rainfall and snow melt is helping businesses who run rafting excursions get ready for a new season.

Minnesota Whitewater Rafting is checking their equipment so that they are ready to go May 14.  They are also training their crew for the various conditions the Saint Louis River near Cloquet can experience, based on Mother Nature and how Minnesota Power controls a nearby dam.

“Every trip is different because the water level change constantly,” says Stephanie LaFleur, owner of Minnesota Whitewater Rafting.  “So like right now we are super fat in water, which is awesome, but next week that can change because Mother Nature with giveth and taketh away.  We never know what we’re going to have, which is why we are constantly in the water seven days a week at least twice, maybe three times a day, to see what is happening because it is constantly changing.”

As for interest, LeFleur says most of the calls for scheduling trips this season has come from outside the Northland.  “Like in Iowa and Minneapolis, I’m getting phone calls because they have warm weather.  They have been experiencing 70°, where we have still been 30°.”

The first month of their season will have the strongest rapids thanks to the winter runoff.  After that LeFluer says conditions will depend on how much rain falls during the summer months.  “Last season looked great also, but then Mother Nature gave us gorgeous weather and no water.  We need Mother Nature to feed us, and if she’s not feeding that watershed…so by mid-July last year we had to shut down because of the drought.  Other places were getting water but not here, and we pretty much had a sandy beach.”

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