Guides are hoping for a strong Rio Grande tourism season in New Mexico

Published on : Tuesday, May 14, 2019

For Rio Grande tourism in New Mexico, rafting and angler guides are anticipating a favorable season. For that, credit goes to strong runoff generated by a good snowmelt this year.


After long dry spells stemming from drought, a vigorous snow patch this winter is nourishing the Rio Grande with water, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.


In 2019, the National Weather Service in Albuquerque hopes runoff to be at least 148% of normal through June.


Last year, water levels were 50% of normal. Portion of rivers were bone dry. Fish — such as trout in the Pecos River — died off and long sandbars formed along once-wet areas.


“Everybody says it’s gonna be a huge year and I think they’re right,” said Britt Runyon of Dixon, New Mexico-based New Wave Rafting.


Other rafting guides in Northern New Mexico have the same opinion. So do anglers, who are anticipating a good summer of fishing although the Rio Grande is still moving too high and fast for them to start casting their lines.


“It’s a momentary restoration of the process that made the river what it is,” said Steve Harris, a river guide and conservationist who supervises the nonprofit Rio Grande Restoration project, introduced to maintain the health of the river.


“It’s good,” Harris added, “but it’s not the solution to our drought.”


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