How does the 2024 Rafting and Outdoor Education season look?
First, a big thank you to all our participants who helped to make 2023 such a resounding success. Our Outdoor Education and school programs thrived! This trend continues into 2024, so we recommend organizers contact us early to access our remaining dates.
Rafting in 2024 is expected to be great as well. One reason is the water storage carryover from the robust water year we had in 2023 left us with full reservoirs throughout the State.
How was it possible for MaLode to recover from the Jan 1st, 2023 flood?
The answer requires a huge thank you to our dedicated and determined staff. They absolutely crushed it! Shout out to Keith, Violette, Mike, Jack, Greg and Scott’s backhoe. The heavy lifting they all did meant our customers weren’t aware of the flood impacts once the season opened. An incredible achievement given the extent of the damage!
So what is in store for the 2024 Season?
This season we are focused on going beyond repairs to making improvements to the camp. For instance we are expanding our camping capacity with the conversion of our retired ECOBus into a dormitory for students. What better way for kids to camp out than in a repurposed school bus?
We are also adding a third yurt and “living in the round” is bound to again stimulate student questions such as: Where did these unique tents originate? Why are they considered one of the oldest and most sustainable forms of shelter? Although our yurts are insulated with the same material used on the International Space Station, how do indigenous people keep them warm during the freezing winters on the steppes?
What does the rafting season look like for 2024 and what will be the effect of El Nino?
The first snow survey of the season registered below normal in early January, 2024. Yet the “El Nino” ocean temperature pattern reported by NOAA is associated with a “wet” precipitation year. What does this mean for the 2024 rafting season?
This is a fascinating question that has been explored in previous blog posts on La Nina, El Nino and atmospheric rivers. Suffice it to say, that it is too early to tell. One reason is that things change quickly with the atmospheric rivers which bring California’s water supply in a handful of huge pulses each year. Things can change quickly as a result. It is also not clear that El Nino is a reliable predictor of precipitation in the American River watershed. For example, on the American River the highest water and biggest floods in the last 50 years sometimes have been in El Nino years, such as 1982-83, and sometimes have not, such as the 1996-97 and 2022-23 floods. Last year was one of the highest precipitation years in recorded history with one of the largest floods. Both events occurred in a “La Nina” year in which drought was predicted!
As we wait to see what evolves this season, we plan to be prepared for whatever comes. The extensive work we have done over the decades to prepare for flood, such as the large grassy areas and concrete pathways in the camp, proved effective in in 2023 in minimizing damage and speeded our recovery. With the large carryover from 2023 in the State’s reservoirs, and in particular on the South and Middle Forks of the American River, the chances are excellent that 2024 will be a great year for whitewater rafting. We are looking forward to enjoying rafting in 2024- to the max!
See you on the river,
Scott the RiverDoc and the MaLode Crew