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Despite low river, Lava draws high tourism for holiday weekend

People are enjoying this three-day weekend by heading out to Lava Hot Springs for one last hurrah of the summer season.

Sam Netuschil, the owner of the Mountain Mayhem Adventure Center, said despite the recently-low water levels this year, tourism is still at its busiest.

“I have not really seen it this low before, not that it has not happened before,” Netuschil said. “It is still a usable river, and people are still able to go down.”

Netuschil said the river levels are usually at the lowest during the fall season. However, he and the nonprofit organization called the American Whitewater Association have been looking into why the water levels have been dropping so low.

So far, this is still being researched.

But, the fear is that water levels will drop so low, it could kill tourism which is the driving economic factor for Lava Hot Springs.

However, this is not yet a concern.

Dave Parris has been working with Netuschil at the adventure center, handing-out inner-tubes to visitors. He said Labor Day weekend is usually the busiest time of the year, noting they were almost completely out of inner-tubes to rent-out by Saturday afternoon.

Netuschil said the water level is nothing to be too concerned about at the moment, since the levels fluctuate so frequently.

In fact, he said normal flow for the river is between 200 and 300 cubic feet per minute, but at one point he has seen the current as strong as 900 CFM.

Nonetheless, Netuschil said, people should always remember to be safe when entering any river.

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