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Elkhorn River access sites open to the public, business lost during closure

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-26 07:13:48-04

It's late July and it has been a tough summer for businesses that operate and rely on the Elkhorn River. The Papio-NRD has reopened access to the river.

High water and dangerous currents have been the major problems. Access sites reopened Tuesday. “It's never been like this where it's been canceled eight out of nine weekends,” Brock Baren, owner of Tubing and Adventures. He says this summer was a big loss for business.

The natural resource district closed all public access points to the Elkhorn River back in June because water levels were above the five-foot limit. “It's been a long month or so, we just haven't been able to work,” said Baren.

The last day he had tubes on the river was June 18th, and since then he has had to cancel around 8,000 people.

“As an outfitter, you have to make those decisions you have to make those smart decisions to minimize risks and not put people in the river," Baren said. 

Which is why Baren agrees with the NRD closing access points. “

"They do a really good job of minimizing risk by shutting their properties down when it gets to that five-foot limit."

Now that the water levels have gone down he is expecting around 1,600 people to float the river before he closes shop for the season while taking everything one day at a time.

“We're back up and running, I wish mother nature would have been a little kinder to us this morning but hopefully it will be a great afternoon," Baren said. 

While he usually closes shop around labor day he might stay open later this year to make up for lost business depending on if the weather stays nice.