Daily Editorial: Rapid regulations | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Rapid regulations

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Edwards resident Linda Lebid has a good point when she points out how utterly unprepared some novice rafters are about the inherent dangers of rafting.

Visitors from out of the area who sign up for a rafting trip likely don’t realize just how fast river conditions change, or how likely it is that they could fall out of the raft when the river is even a little rough.

There is a common misconception among out-of-towners about many of the activities we do here in the mountains: That anyone off the street can do them. That may be true of short, easy hikes and meandering bike rides, but most of the really exciting things to do around here take at least some sort of physical fitness and skill.

Places like Timberline Tours screen customers for physical fitness and rafting experience with the intent of including only those who capable of rafting the rougher rapids. Everyone gets a safety talk and those wanting to raft the roughest parts of the river have to do a swim test.

More screening would likely weed out customers who aren’t up to the challenge.

More training for customers could help, too. But outfitters can only do so much.

It’s up to would-be-rafters to be keenly aware of their limits. Just like a novice skiers should avoid black diamond runs on the first day, new rafters need to recognize that Class IV and V rapids are over their heads.

That ignorance isn’t just limited to out-of-towners. Local residents embarking on their first raft trip probably don’t realize how rough it can get out there, either.

It’s easy to call for more regulation when tragedy occurs, and in this case, it may be warranted. But even with those regulations, accidents can and do happen.

We should all take the warnings about the river’s dangers more seriously.

” Tamara Miller for the Editorial Board

Support Local Journalism