ESCALANTE, Utah (ABC4) — The Bureau of Land Management is warning river rafters following this winter’s heavy snowpack in Utah.

“Due to several years of drought, we’ve gotten used to low winter snow melt equating to lower flows and no ‘float season,'” says BLM Backcountry Ranger Eran Howarth. “This year the water-snow equivalent in the high country means bigger flows for a longer stretch of time. No crystal ball on how long or when they start because that depends on many, many factors.”

Officials are looking at Escalante River in particular, saying that the runoff there and in other desert river basins will reach levels that can put whitewater recreators and rescuers in danger.

“We want the public to be aware of this potential danger, to plan ahead and prepare, wear recommended helmets and personal flotation devices, have fun but keep safety in the forefront of your minds at all times,” Howarth states.

For more information on floating the Escalante River, you may call the Escalante Visitor Center at 435-826-5499.