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After ‘Herculean effort’ to open Boise River floating, unusual season is underway

Here’s how to stay safe on the Boise River during float season

Capt. Noel Rios, firefighter Joe Ostermiller, and firefighter Chad Tiffany of the Boise Fire Department Dive Team spent Thursday morning clearing obstructions from the Boise River in preparation for the 2016 opening of float season in Boise.
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Capt. Noel Rios, firefighter Joe Ostermiller, and firefighter Chad Tiffany of the Boise Fire Department Dive Team spent Thursday morning clearing obstructions from the Boise River in preparation for the 2016 opening of float season in Boise.

The Boise River floating season opened Saturday — the latest opening date on record, according to Connie Zeller, who owns Boise River Raft & Tube Rentals.

Crowds flocked to Zeller’s popular Barber Park rental shop on Saturday, though everything about the 2017 float season has been a bit off.

“It’s rare for us to open on a Saturday,” said Zeller. “Typically by this time we’ve had all of June to get started.”

This Saturday was slower than an average weekend, Zeller said, but about on par for a typical opening day.

“We’re expecting that, given the temperatures this next week, we’ll be busier during the week,” she said.

Zeller said floaters already have expressed how excited they are to finally be able to cool off in the river.

“The sense I’m getting is a lot of gratitude that the season is even open,” Zeller said. “There was a tremendous effort (by Boise Fire, Ada County and the city of Boise) behind the scenes to get that done.”

At one point during the spring, paddleboarders were rowing through Barber Park’s parking lots and water stretched over the beaches where tubers and rafters waded into the river Saturday. Zeller said it’s amazing and comforting to see things back to normal — or as normal as they can be.

You can rent your own rafting and tubing equipment through Labor Day.

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