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updated: 5/20/2018 10:00 AM

Whitewater river in Colorado a bright spot amid grim drought

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  • In this April 25, 2018 photo, the Arkansas River flows under a bridge in Salida, Colo., with the snow-covered Sawatch Range mountains in the background. Despite a severe drought across the Southwestern United States, there should be plenty of water this year for rafters and anglers in the Arkansas, one of the nation's most popular mountain rivers. State and federal officials say water from melting snow will surge down the river thanks to a surprisingly wet winter in the towering peaks of the Sawatch Range where the river begins.

    In this April 25, 2018 photo, the Arkansas River flows under a bridge in Salida, Colo., with the snow-covered Sawatch Range mountains in the background. Despite a severe drought across the Southwestern United States, there should be plenty of water this year for rafters and anglers in the Arkansas, one of the nation's most popular mountain rivers. State and federal officials say water from melting snow will surge down the river thanks to a surprisingly wet winter in the towering peaks of the Sawatch Range where the river begins.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - In this June 18, 2014, file photo, rafters navigate high water and big rapids in Bighorn Sheep Canyon on the Arkansas River near Colorado Springs, Colo. Despite a severe drought across the Southwestern United States, there should be plenty of water this year for rafters and anglers in the Arkansas, one of the nation's most popular mountain rivers. State and federal officials say water from melting snow will surge down the river thanks to a surprisingly wet winter in the towering peaks of the Sawatch Range where the river begins. (Michael Ciaglo/The Colorado Springs Gazette via AP, File)

    FILE - In this June 18, 2014, file photo, rafters navigate high water and big rapids in Bighorn Sheep Canyon on the Arkansas River near Colorado Springs, Colo. Despite a severe drought across the Southwestern United States, there should be plenty of water this year for rafters and anglers in the Arkansas, one of the nation's most popular mountain rivers. State and federal officials say water from melting snow will surge down the river thanks to a surprisingly wet winter in the towering peaks of the Sawatch Range where the river begins. (Michael Ciaglo/The Colorado Springs Gazette via AP, File)
    Associated Press

 
 

SALIDA, Colo. -- Despite a severe drought across the Southwestern United States this spring, there should be plenty of water for rafters and anglers in one of the nation's most popular mountain rivers.

State and federal officials say water from melting snow is rushing into the Arkansas River in central Colorado, thanks to a surprisingly wet winter in the towering peaks of the Sawatch Range where the river begins.

Some of those peaks stand just outside the northern reach of the drought, so they collected near-normal snowfall.

Rob White, manager of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, says this won't be an epic whitewater year, but it will be a good one.

The recreation area is a state park encompassing 150 miles (240 kilometers) of the river near its source.

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