SHADY COVE, Ore. — This time last year, thunderstorms moved through southern Oregon and lightning sparked several fires. The smoke from those fires moved into the valley and just about put rafting companies out of business for the year. One company said so far this year, they’re back on track.
Rafts are stacked up and ready to go outside raft rite rentals in Shady Cove. Friday, the white board was filled with 10 rafting groups, which is about 10 more than a given day last August.
“It’s been fantastic, it’s, we’ve recovered from last year with where we were cut short because of the smoke but we’ve definitely recovered. We’re right back to where we were before that, and growing,” said Raft Rite Owner Shelly Burton.
Getting back to business was not something she thought could be a challenge after a third of her business was lost from the smoke last August. Burton said last year the smoke just lingered in the valley, and in the minds of those who typically hit the rapids.
“We expected to maybe recover from it but the smoke just kept coming and coming and then people decided to do something different by the time it cleared. So, the summer was over before we even knew it,” said Burton.
The thunderstorms seen earlier this week in southern Oregon brought mixed feelings to Burton, who knows they could be just one lightning strike away from another rough August.
“There was some rain, because we need the rain to help fill the lake that fills the river. But then, I was thinking about the lightning and if this is going to be Deja vu,” said Burton.