Please note: This post was written by Luther Stephens and was imported from our former blog platform. It has been kept for archival purposes.

Anticipated Runoff Poses Challenges & Opportunities for Kern River Outfitters

Data provided by the California Cooperative Snow Survey on April 1, 2011 shows the statewide snowpack to be 160% of average with some readings above southern California’s Kern River drainage to be nearly twice normal. For outfitters offering rafting trips on the Kern River, these readings promise exceptional flows all summer.

Easily reached from all of Southern California, the Kern River is a popular destination for people looking for rafting vacations close-to-home. Just three hours from Los Angeles, the Kern features runs of varying difficulty lasting from a few hours to three-days. The heavy snowpack and resulting runoff will provide plenty of water for a season expected to last well into

“We’re getting ready for a big year,” says Luther Stephens, the general manager for Kern River Outfitters. “This will be one of the best seasons ever for folks looking to raft the Kern River.” Stephens oversees the company’s operations and is using historical data to project what the season will look like on different sections of the river. “On sections that rely entirely on snow melt for water, like the Upper Kern and Forks, we’re looking at a season that will stretch well into August. We haven’t been able to do that in quite a few years.” Stephens is cautionary that high flows might restrict trips on the Forks of the Kern in May and June. “The best time to run the Forks stretch will be after peak flows recede and the water clears, is warmer, and more manageable”, he says. “We expect that to happen towards the end of June. It is going to be a rare and fabulous season on all stretches of the Kern River this summer.”

For Stephens, mapping out the extent of the season is only part of the challenge presented by high water flows. Staff training and scheduling is another part of the puzzle. “We’re already planning orientation trips and training for our staff,” he reports. “We have the most experienced crew on the river but they don’t get to see a season like this very often so we’re stepping up our training for the entire crew.”

With more than 40 professional river guides on staff and over 35 years in the business, Kern River Outfitters is one of the most experienced and popular rafting companies in California. Trips are offered on the Kern River in Sequoia National Forest, east of Bakersfield.

For more details about the Kern River and rafting conditions this summer, visit http://www.KernRafting, email or call Kern River Outfitters at 1-800-323-4234.

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