The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah is advising public land visitors of rapidly changing conditions on several popular rivers throughout Utah, including the Colorado, Dolores, Escalante, Green, San Rafael, and White rivers.
In many cases, above average amounts of precipitation and unpredictable snowmelts are creating some of the highest river flows and most unpredictable flash floods in decades.
The waters in these rivers and their associated side canyons can rise dramatically in a very short amount of time. Most BLM-managed public lands and rivers are in remote backcountry settings and self-rescue will be necessary in the event of any issues arising.
The BLM recommends that public land visitors reconsider any plans to undertake these outdoor activities if your group does not maintain the expertise to respond to these types of conditions.
River runners should be aware that they are likely to encounter new and unseen obstacles, large amounts of debris, stronger undertows, faster currents, colder water temperatures, and higher-class rapids throughout the spring and early summer.
Public land visitors should also be aware that in many instances, the high river levels have either reduced the size or temporarily eliminated several popular riverside campsites. River runners are advised to prudently select campsites to prevent the need to continue downriver in the dark.
There is an unpredictable potential for flash flooding along river tributaries and side canyons and visitors should avoid using these locations as overnight campsites.
Backcountry hikers should be aware of the potential for flash flooding in several popular canyoneering locations, including Little Wild Horse, Bell, Ding and Dang, and Chute and Crack Canyons in the San Rafael Swell.