GOWANDA - Another wet and wild season for whitewater rafters has kicked off in Zoar Valley.
The 2012 season started in mid-March and will tentatively continue through the middle of May. Depending on water levels though, tours could possibly continue all the way through early June.
According to the event page for Zoar Valley Whitewater Rafting, "The best whitewater action can normally be had through April, depending on rainfall. May, as the water level begins to recede, can generally be counted on to proved the more scenic, warmer and serene trips." They do note, however, that May showers can cause water levels to rise.
Three companies in Gowanda offer whitewater rafting adventures along the Cattaraugus Creek in Zoar Valley.
Photo courtesy of Adventure Calls Outfitters Inc.
Reservations are required to go rafting in Zoar Valley, but there are three companies that provide whitewater tours for anyone that is interested.
Adventure Calls Outfitters Inc. has been in the rafting business since 1981. They highly recommend that anyone interested makes reservations ahead of time as their trips do sell out frequently, sometimes more than a week before the actual trip.
"The best advice that I could give to someone paddling out with us for the first time is to come with a good attitude," said Kevin Kretschmer, president of Adventure Calls Outfitters. "We will do all that we can to ensure that every guest has a positive experience with us but people need to remember that we're at the mercy of the elements as far as the weather and river levels go and that this activity is not just an amusement park ride."
What: Zoar Valley whitewater rafting
When: through May
Cost: $38 and up
For more info: Adventure Calls: 585-343-4710
or adventure-calls.com; Zoar Valley Canoe &?Rafting Company: 800-724-0696 or zoarvalleyrafting.com; Catt Rafting Adventures: 866-1461 or cattraftingadventures.com
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approximately 38 miles from downtown Jamestown
Adventure Calls Outfitters schedules weekend trips on the Cattaraugus Creek in Zoar Valley that typically leave between 11 a.m. and noon. Their touring season usually runs from mid-March to mid-May, but it can run longer depending on spring rainfall. Rafting trips on the Cattaraugus Creek cost $45 per person and include hot soup on the river as well as a post-trip pizza party at their Gowanda office. Adventure Calls Outfitters can be reached by calling 585-343-4710 or through their website at www.adventure-calls.com.
Zoar Valley Canoe & Rafting Company is located at 11 S. Water St., Gowanda. They run several different types of trips beginning in March and continuing through September. Rates vary from $40 to $75 per person, and there is a variety of difficulty levels to choose from. From the beginning of the season through April, Zoar Valley Rafting requires everyone to wear a wetsuit and provides them for a $7 rental fee. Zoar Valley Canoe & Rafting Company can be reached by calling 800-724-0696 or through their website at www.zoarvalleyrafting.com.
Catt Rafting Adventures LLC is located at 241 Palmer St., Gowanda. The company was founded three years ago by three friends and has continued to gather a devoted fan base since.
"Our goal is to provide customers with outstanding service, friendly, knowledgeable and experienced guide service, and an afternoon to remember," said a spokesperson for the company.
Catt Rafting Adventures requires and supplies helmets for tours. They operate on Saturdays and Sundays from spring until the beginning of summer and prices vary from $38 to $60 per person for their tours depending on what type of trip it will be. For more information, Catt Rafting Adventures can be reached by calling 866-1461 or through their website at www.cattraftingadventures.com.