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Aspen authorities urge residents, visitors to avoid high rivers

Pitkin County Trails and Open Space

The Aspen Fire Protection District wants people to be careful around high water this weekend. They’re putting officials at popular recreation spots this weekend to warn visitors and locals of the danger. The Roaring Fork River is the highest Fire Chief Rick Balentine has seen for years, and he expects river levels next week to be high as well, as the snow continues to melt up high.

“All the rivers around Aspen running all the way down into Basalt, Carbondale, and including the Crystal River, are running extremely high,” said Balentine on Friday afternoon. “The Roaring Fork River is at record highs right now, and I would just caution everybody to be aware stay out of the river.”

Balentine says the swollen waters are a combination of factors. “It’s due to runoff [and] we’ve had a lot of rain lately, too. I’ve been on the fire department for the last 27 years I don’t remember it being this high at this time of year,” explained Balentine. “The fact is, if you jump in, our swift water team may or may not be able to get you because it’s just too dangerous.”

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