NEAR GALICE, Ore. — Rafts are back on the Rogue River following the lifting of restrictions Monday on the river below Grave Creek Bridge.
That area is still an outfitting point for firefighters and emergency crews. At the same time, rafters are floating between Galice and the Grave Creek Landing, and beyond.
“Every prayer has been answered now that the river’s back open and the financial hit that all of us outfitters and everybody in the river community with the river closure,” Rogue Wilderness Adventures owner, Brad Niva, said. “It’s been a tough 2 weeks to say the least, especially at the peak of our season too.”
“We’ve been planning this for over a year and we were really disappointed when we heard that it was closed,” Robin commented, a vacationer all the way from New Jersey.
But now it’s open and Niva says the phone is ringing with people calling to book trips again.
“The river’s back to normal, it’s beautiful, it’s sunny,” Niva added. “We know there’s some smoke in the air but nothing that nobody can’t handle, it’s not unbearable.”
Niva says while the lower river was closed for nearly two weeks, everything upstream was still open but he says many people assumed the entire river was closed and many people stayed away when it was not necessary.
Now, he’s hoping he and other outfitters will be able to recover some of the loss they sustained during what would normally be the peak of their float season. Lost business includes t-shirt and food sales, and shuttle business. He says some 200 customers stayed away.
Outfitters and others who rely on river tourism estimate the two week closure of the river cost the local economy at least $100,000.