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Surging River Waters Not Yet Float Ready
This is one of many signs posted along the Stanislaus; this one in Knights Ferry discourages swimming and rafting is also not recommended.

River rafting enthusiasts will need to wait just a bit longer before casting off and floating their way down the Stanislaus River. A wet and snowy winter has continued to plague the activity of recreational rafters, as well as businesses as water levels continue to be unsafe.

“When we’re talking about height, we’re typically talking about CFS - cubic feet per second,” Shiloh Foust, owner/operator of Sunshine River Adventure stated, “and the release per cubic second is just way too high to safely run trips.”

As a result, the Knights Ferry based company has delayed their opening day for business. Foust reported recent height (river flows) at 4500 CFS, with projections to lower to 4,200 CFS.

“We can’t really do anything commercially until the river goes under 2,000 CFS and then there are quite a few rules,” he said.

This year marks the latest season open for the local business, which has served rafters for the past 33 years. Currently Foust and his crew are not operating raft adventures due to safety and what’s best for the client.

“This I believe is the first time we haven’t been operational by Memorial Day weekend,” Foust shared.

Currently the office staff has been kept busy rescheduling pre-planned rafting trips for later dates or simply refunding money to those unable to rebook. Foust anticipates floats down the Stanislaus should be up and running by the beginning of July.

“A lot of problems we see are people expect something different,” Foust said of independent rafters taking on the river. “It’s like getting in a car that you think can go 15 miles per hour, but all of a sudden you’re going 80 miles per hour. If you don’t know how to drive a car at 80 mph you’re in trouble immediately.”

An experienced rafting enthusiast himself, Foust shared the current CFS can even find the veteran rafter in trouble, noting that current conditions do not make for a relaxing float trip. That’s an attribute the Stanislaus is typically known for, but isn’t the case right now.

“The biggest thing is safety and being responsible for your own actions is huge,” he said. “You have to have good equipment. Pool floaties are absolutely not acceptable for floats.”

And even though temperatures hitting triple digits this weekend will make the river look tempting, Foust said it’s not worth the risk.

“Avoid the danger,” he cautioned. “Go to a lake, but avoid this river until these flows drop.”

As testament for his love of the river, rafting and doing what’s in the best interest of the recreational rafter, Foust offered advice on educating oneself.

“You can check and you can check it very simply,” he said. “There are so many situations that can pop up, there’s no advice that can cover a tenth of what you could experience. Just stay away until it’s safe.”


For additional information on Sunshine River Adventures, current CFS info and operation information visit or call 848-4800.