High Water Impacting Outdoor Businesses

Posted at: 06/25/2014 8:20 PM
By: Brianna Long

Photo: ABC 6 News
Photo: ABC 6 News

For some tourist areas, the flooding can severely impact their business. With 4th of July coming up, they're closely watching the river levels, to make sure they're safe for people coming out to celebrate the holiday.

Every summer, tourists flock to Lanesboro. Some take a bike ride down a trail, others check out the shops and businesses downtown. But one of the biggest draws to the area is the root river. 

"We rent canoes, tubes, kayaks, bicycles, sell some novelty items, and a bait shop," said Mike Charlebois, the owner of the Root River Outfitters. His business depends on the weather, and so far things haven't been great. 

"We've lost a lot of businesses because of the rain so far this year. It's a tough year," said Charlebois. 

With the river levels so high, tubing and kayaking down the river isn't just difficult, it can be downright dangerous. 

"Always use caution. It's just the water's moving so fast, any little tree that may have come down, debris that washed into it, you don't have a lot of time to react," said Craig Blommer, the parks and trails supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

And it's not just debris, the water can also be more polluted. 

"With high water, you get a lot more runoff from farm fields and cities you can have problems in town with sewage systems backing up in things," said Blommer. 

With 4th of July right around the corner, Mike says he's hoping mother nature cooperates, so he can try to make up for lost business. 

"Fourth of July has historically been our biggest rental weekend. At this point, we have 5 or 6 weekends left. There's no way we can make it up," said Charlebois.  

The DNR doesn't actually close the river. But you can check their website to see what their recommendations are each day.