During the 2011 Missouri River Flood people headed north to enjoy rafting and boating on the Niobrara River. Dean Jacobs is the executive director of the Valentine Chamber of Commerce and with Cherry County Tourism and says since last Friday it is a different story. Parts of the Niobrara River is closed to recreation because of the wildfires.
River use is not allowed from Nickols Landing at Smith Falls State Park.. Smith Falls State Park is open for day use only. Hwy 12 is closed from Sparks east to Springview. River Road access is closed from Sparks south.
Jacobs says there are about a dozen businesses that provide tubes, canoes and kayaks for water use along the Niobrara River. Some of them are fighting to save their campground areas from the fires. There are several outfitters located in Valentine and they are in no danger.
Jacobs says they are watching the situation carefully and hope conditions change over the next few days where visitors will once again head in their direction to enjoy what the Niobrara River Valley has to offer.