GOLDEN, Colo. (KDVR) — New restrictions are in place on Clear Creek in Golden because of hazardous water levels.
The city of Golden, with help from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, is now limiting water activities that include single-chambered air-inflated devices, like inner tubes, as well as swimming.
Fire Marshal Scott Case said the creek’s water levels have gone up quickly over the last couple of weeks.
“We’ve had a good snow year compared to other years, so the amount of water in the creek this year is higher than it’s been the last couple of years,” Case said.
These temporary restrictions apply to Clear Creek in unincorporated Jefferson County and within Golden.
Case said the water may be deceptive, but it’s powerful.
“It doesn’t take a lot of water to sweep you off your feet and it’s a natural waterway, so it means there’s rocks, branches and even trees,” Case said. “Tubing sounds like you can be on top of the water which you are, but because the higher flows, it’s also easier to get bucked off and it’s too big of a risk at this point.”
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Jeremy Felix with Dive Rescue International helps train swift-water rescue to first responders across the country.
“People love recreating near the water and so we’re seeing a higher instance of water rescue,” Felix said. “We just really care about having more rescuers that are equipped and knowledgeable to affect this rescue and save lives.”
Kayaks, whitewater canoes, multi-chambered professionally guided rafts, river boards and stand up paddleboards are not restricted at this time, but first responders highly encourage wearing a lifejacket and helmet at all times.
“It really comes down to safety,” Case said. “We want people here. We want people to have fun and make use of our natural resources, but we have to respect them.”
The temporary water restrictions will stay in place until the water levels go down.
Golden Fire said they have a set flow rate that determines when it’s dangerous and when it’s safe. The Sheriff’s office said violators may be ticketed and face a $100 fine.