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Arkansas River Pueblo Dam Closure

Activities Restricted on Arkansas River in Pueblo County Due to Dangerous Conditions

PUEBLO, COLORADO – Starting June 11, the Pueblo City Fire Department, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have announced restricted use of the Arkansas River from the Pueblo Dam to the Pueblo County/Otero County line. This decision comes in response to dangerously high water levels and fast-flowing conditions.

The current restrictions prohibit whitewater canoeing, kayaking, recreational swimming, and the use of single-chambered inflatable devices, including inner tubes and rafts. Multiple-chamber inflatables are also banned. Violators will be cited.

“Water awareness and safety is extremely important this time of year in our community,” stated Chief of the Pueblo Fire Department, Barb Huber. “The Arkansas River is experiencing high volume due to seasonal factors and increased rainfall. We ask everyone to be mindful of restrictions, closures, and safety hazards as we continue to update the public.”

While the trails along the river remain open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, users are advised to exercise caution. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” is the key message for those encountering water hazards on trails and roads.

Pueblo County Sheriff David J. Lucero emphasized the severity of the situation, stating, “The winter snowmelt and recent heavy rains have created very hazardous conditions on the river. For public safety, we request that people stay out of the water until conditions improve.”

Joe Stadterman, park manager at Lake Pueblo for CPW, added, “The tailwaters below the Lake Pueblo dam are popular for fishing and tubing. However, the current conditions are too dangerous to allow the river to stay open.”

Earlier today, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Arkansas River above Pueblo, affecting Pueblo County. Minor flooding is anticipated downstream from the dam, with the flood stage rising to 8.1 feet this afternoon. The river is currently flowing at over 6,000 cubic feet per second, about four times the normal flow.

The public is advised to stay away from riverbanks and streams, as saturated banks can break away. The cold temperature of the water, primarily from mountain snowmelt, poses additional risks.

Officials from the Pueblo Fire Department, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will continue to monitor river conditions and will announce the reopening of the river once water flows return to safe levels.

For future updates, please follow the Pueblo Fire Department and Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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