Vail Daily’s View: Flood recedes; now what?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Last Saturday an experienced rafter died in the roiling waters of Dowd Junction. Sunday, the Teva Mountain Games canceled the rafting and kayaking competitions for the day.
Monday Vail and Gypsum residents were sandbagging after high water flooded basements, damaged walkways and bridges.
By Wednesday evening the flood began subsiding. Who knows, by Saturday local outfitters may be resuming river trips.
Such is the nature of the run-off season. Welcome to mountain living.
Late snow and then the weather pretty much skipping spring in favor of summer had a predictable impact on the waterways this year. Sure the Eagle River has run higher, but maybe not since 1984, depending on whose gauge you read.
Thunderstorms are on tap for the weekend, but the flushing of snowpack has passed its peak, and that’s the main thing.
Next up to worry about: Fire season. The snowpack melting sooner than usual makes the passage from ice to fire time in the mountains more stressful. Beetle-killed trees entering the cycle of falling over will add to the fuels on the ground that practically beg for cleansing wildfire. It’s all happened before, and will happen again. Whether that’s this summer or next, or 10 years or more from now is the only real question.
Biomass plants would make a little dent, surely, and is a win-win for energy and a measure of wildfire protection. But beetle-kill extends for millions of acres in Colorado and the West. Mother Nature will have the last word here.
Meantime, pray for a normal monsoon season in a year of decidedly abnormal patterns, and think about going rafting and kayaking soon. Hey, it’s the mountains.
Vail Daily Editorial Board