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Kayaker Drowns On Yampa River In Dinosaur National Monument


Teepee Rapid on the Yampa River/NPS, May 2017

A 66-year-old Colorado man apparently drowned on the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument after his inflatable kayak capsized in a rapid.

Park staff said the Craig, Colorado, man and a friend were on a private trip down the river in inflatable kayaks. Apparently, at about 2 p.m. Saturday, the kayaker hit a rock in Teepee Rapid and capsized, a park release said.

"The reporting party kayaked 24 miles downstream to Hells Canyon Ranch to report the incident," the release added.

Monument staff weren't contacted until shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday. Rangers launched a search Sunday morning.

"Due to the remote location of the incident, and low water levels along the Yampa River, monument staff used a helicopter to aid in the response," the park release said. "At 11:40 a.m. Sunday morning, the kayaker’s body was located approximately three miles downstream from the point last seen. The body was recovered from the river and transported to the Moffat County Coroner."

The name of the victim, who had been wearing a personal flotation jacket, was not released pending notification of family.

Tepee Rapid is a class II+ rapid located on the Yampa River in the Colorado portion (Moffat County) of Dinosaur National Monument. It is approximately 10 river miles downstream of the Deerlodge Park boat launch near the monument’s eastern boundary. Flow rates for the Yampa River, influenced by natural, seasonal fluctuations, are currently averaging 680 cubic feet per second. At this low water level, navigating the river in larger rafts is difficult. Using small water craft, including inflatable kayaks, is preferred.

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