Tubing and swimming bans begin - Clear Creek ban starts June 9

Posted at 1:28 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-11 01:41:51-04

The first water ban went into effect at 4 p.m. Thursday.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Golden Police Department has banned single-chambered air inflated devices such as belly boats, inner tubes and single-chambered rafts, as well as “body-surfers” and swimming on Clear Creek, officials said.

"Kayaks, paddle boards (SUP), whitewater canoes and multi-chambered professionally guided rafts and river boards are exempt," the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

The restrictions apply to Clear Creek in unincorporated Jefferson County, as well portions of Clear Creek in the City of Golden, including Vanover Park.

Violators may be issued a summons and will face a fine of $100, deputies said

Harris Williams is a former lifeguard and river boards on Clear Creek almost every day, and he says this is the strongest he’s seen the current.

“I pulled someone up that looked like they were fine. They were totally in shock. They went right to the bottom. About seven or eight feet down. I went down, looked around and finally pulled them out,” said Williams.

He’s seen firsthand the dangers of Clear Creek.

He’s rescued six people in just the last five days.

“I’ve actually probably rescued more people in this creek in the short amount of time I did here than ever in the ocean,” said Williams.

The problem is the water looks innocent, but you don’t realize how strong the current is or how cold the water is.

“When they get flipped that cold water takes the air right out of your lungs. It shrinks your lungs and it pulls you under into the eddy and before you know it you’re basically in trouble,” said Williams.

Linda Peters saw some kids playing in the water and just moments later heard screams.

“People screaming and running around and about ten minutes later the ambulance was here picking up people,” said Peters.

Other jurisdictions

Boulder Creek's flood gauge showed the creek running at about 275 cfs Thursday. Boulder's website says, "Under normal conditions, Boulder Creek typically flows at a rate between 100 and 300 cubic feet per second (cfs)."

The Summit County Sheriff's Office issued a statement Thursday that said, "snowmelt is peaking in Summit County, causing elevated flows in local rivers and streams. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office is urging residents and visitors to exercise caution in and around waterways throughout the area for the next two weeks."

On Friday, Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies advised the public not to enter the water under the Kipling Road bridge, saying the high flow rates of the currents could pose a safety risk. 

A waterway restriction prohibiting swimming, body surfing and the use of single-chambered air inflated devices, such as belly boats, inner tubes and single chambered rafts has also gone into effect in Clear Creek 


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