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Contact: Paul Henderson, 435-719-2102
The west side of the popular backcountry White Rim Road at Canyonlands National Park has been closed to motor vehicles due to flooding brought on by rising water levels in the Green River. The road is closed from the southern base of Hardscrabble Hill to the park boundary, making a complete White Rim loop-trip impossible. The road remains open to bike and foot traffic.
With the forecast river flows on the Green River as the spring runoff continues, the closure could very well last for several weeks. There are flooding issues along some portions of the White Rim when flows exceed 20,000 cfs (cubic feet per second). The flow was approximately 23,000 cfs when the flooding occurred.
As of May 10th the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center was predicting a 50% chance that the Green River will peak at 46,000 cfs this year and a 90% chance that flows will reach at least 38,000 cfs. The last time that flows exceeded 38,000 cfs was in 1983, flows above 46,000 cfs have not occurred since 1922.
There are several variables that will determine both the peak and the duration of the high flows. Weather of course is tantamount. Warm weather and rapid snowmelt could produce very high volumes of relatively short duration. Cooler weather and a continued pattern of late-season storms could produce somewhat lower overall flows but of a longer duration.
Visitors planning a trip to Canyonlands over the next few weeks should check the High Water FAQs page regularly for updates. You may also follow current conditions on Twitter at www.twitter.com/canyonlandsnps.