ADAMS, Tenn. (WKRN) — Weeks of no rain are having a big impact on river levels in Tennessee.
“Right when school gets out, the end of May, June, and July is when we get hit really hard,” said Nicole Merkel. “There will be people lined up all the way out the door waiting to get on the river.”
That’s what Merkel is use to while working at Red River Canoes in Adams, but weeks of no rain has left her and staff struggling this summer.
“We have hundreds of boats, canoes, and kayaks but with the water conditions right now we can only put out our metal boats,” she said.
Merkel says they are used to the Red River being at around six feet, but currently, water levels are sitting at four feet. Meaning many of their kayaks that hit the river typically come back with holes in them.
According to Lead Dockhand, Jarrad Beadle, they have roughly 30 kayaks with holes in them that he has to work to repair. “It puts a toll on us and during the week, we spend some time fixing them where we usually wouldn’t have to,” he said.
The damage isn’t also time consuming but dangerous for customers.
“We don’t want to send you out there, the boat gets ripped up halfway down and now you’re stranded and we have to call the [TWRA] to come and rescue you,” said Merkel.
Until the river rises, Merkel says they’ll stick to offering their canoes and metal kayaks only, but even that has its challenges
“Usually you can load up a canoe with a bunch of people, but I’m not comfortable doing that right now with the water and weighing down a boat too much,” she said. “So two people in a canoe…that’s not very many.”
With the 4th of July right around the corner, they are just praying rain will finally come.
“I keep seeing the forecast every day that it’s going to be rain, and I wait and there’s never rain so I’m really hoping that we do get some,” said Merkel.
Merkel added they have around 200 kayaks and typically on the 4th of July they will rent them all out before noon—but as Monday approaches they aren’t sure what will happen if they don’t get rain this weekend.