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South Fork Boise River presents dangers to rafters

Rafting safety on the South Fork of the Boise River

The South Fork of the Boise River can be a dangerous place to go rafting. Here are some things to keep in mind if you're planning to go. Video courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.
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The South Fork of the Boise River can be a dangerous place to go rafting. Here are some things to keep in mind if you're planning to go. Video courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

The U.S. Forest Service on Monday warned rafters to use “extreme caution” on the South Fork Boise River, where a rafter died last month.

The press release was motivated by “several rafting incidents,” according to the release.

A man was rescued on the river May 31 with a broken leg from a rafting accident. Three people were reported missing last week while rafting. They were located but one was injured.

Much of the South Fork runs through a roadless area, which limits options when accidents and injuries occur. The river also has changed in recent years due to mudslides and rock deposits after fires.

Buffalo Creek rapid, the Forest Service reports, has changed from a Class 3 to a Class 5. The area around that rapid has been cleaned up to provide better access for rafters who choose to get out of the river and walk around it.

“This rapid has got multiple sections in it and those multiple sections, any of them, if you have a challenge within it, can lead to catastrophic failure in the next section,” Michael Hurt, the outdoor recreation director at Mountain Home Air Force Base, said in a video produced by the Forest Service (watch the video above).

But Buffalo Creek isn’t the only potential trouble spot.

“The South Fork Boise River is very challenging even for the most experienced rafter,” said Stephaney Kerley, district ranger on the Mountain Home Ranger District. “We want visitors to the forest to have a great recreational experience, but at the same time use their best judgment and consider safety as a priority to protect themselves and their families.”

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