Rafting in Colorado After the Fire

from Wildlife Promise

Burned trees along the mountain ridges, Cache la Poudre River in Colorado

Burned trees along the mountain ridges, Cache la Poudre River in Colorado

My vacation had been planned for months when the news came about the Colorado fires. We had planned to go whitewater rafting on the Cache la Poudre river but all rafting trips were cancelled as fire fighters battled. Then just before our trip, the fire fighters got the fires under control, and rafting was opened again.

I expected the scenery along the river to be all blackened, but most of the trees were not burned near the river. On to the mountain crests, we could see burned trees. Many trees are very brown because Colorado only got about 10 percent of its normal snow fall this winter, so conditions are extremely dry.

The biggest visual reminder of the fire was the ash in the water. Our guide said it would normally be clear to the bottom, but we could see fine ash turning the water black. Along the edges, the sand was also black.

Check out my video diary from the trip:

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Along the highways and in small towns were signs thanking the fire fighters. We send our thanks for protecting the people who live in the area, and for getting the rivers opened!

Rafting symbol for "okay"

This is me showing the signal for “I’m okay” if you fall out of your raft.


Best wishes to the rafting companies who will have a challenging summer and we hope folks will still keep rafting on their vacation wish list because we had a great time.

Judy Kohler from our Rocky Mountain office wrote this fabulous blog about the impacts of the Colorado fire on wildlife – check it out!


National Wildlife Federation’s Storytelling Video Diary Series shares the candid tales of 10 NWF staffers from around the country; armed with their cameras in California, Wisconsin, the Pacific Northwest, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC, these nine staffers will share with you their individual trials, epiphanies and stories as they unfold in their daily adventures.