If you're planning to spend time on the Elkhorn River over the 4th of July holiday, think again. Due to dangerously high water, access sites in Douglas County will remain closed through the weekend.
“If the river returns to near-normal conditions we will reopen the sites sometime the following week,” said John Winkler, Papio-Missouri River NRD General Manager. The NRD’s Platte River Landing access site near NE Highway 64 in western Douglas County remains open.
The closed Elkhorn River access sites include Elkhorn Crossing, Graske Crossing and the NRD’s W. Maple Road site.
Brock Beran is keeping a close eye on the Elkhorn and he said, “I would not go in the river today," when we spoke with him Tuesday.
As part of his Tubing & Adventure business he monitors the levels constantly.
“I was looking at the gauges upstream and saw some things that were making me nervous,” he said. “So I made the decision to stay home today and start moving things to higher ground.”
The river is normally five feet deep at this time of year but with the recent rainfall, it's up to more than 11 feet and that’s a level Beran said he isn't willing to test.
“I'd rather cancel and lose out on that money than put someone in a situation that I don't feel is safe for them.”
In the past three weekends, Beran has had to cancel more than 1,500 customers because of the high levels. With swift currents carrying debris as big as logs down the river, Beran urges people to not tempt fate and go out on their own.
Beran said, “You can't anticipate the river just thinking it will be good to float. You have to check.”
The Natural Resources District has also issued warnings saying it is easy to get into a dangerous situation when the current is so swift.
The NRD said one of the safer places to float this weekend is the Platte at either Two Rivers State Park or Platte River Landing but remember to wear your life jacket.