Boat rentals increasing with triple digit forecast

UPPER ROGUE AREA, Ore. — Locals didn’t have to go to our mountain lakes to cool off this weekend, the Upper Rogue River proved to be a popular spot.

Fishing boats, rafts, pontoon boats, kayaks and paddle boards are all selling out or getting reserved way in advance as people try to beat the heat.

“Boat rentals out here have definitely been increasing since the weather has gotten warmer,” said Operations Supervisor for Jackson County Parks, Andrew Austill. He says the demand for rental boats has driven Jackson County Parks to purchase additional pontoon boats to rent out.

“Pontoons are the most popular thing and we’re still waiting on a couple more we just purchased, so once those come in we’ll have 4 boats that people can use.”

They can rent the boats for 4-hour increments, or for the day.

“Lots of times, especially with this heat, people have been renting for a half day and if they’re still available many people say they’ll take it for the rest of the day, as well,” said Austill.

As Lost Creek Lake levels drop, Austill says boat rentals won’t stop.

He says they’ll keep extending the docking, using dock from the nearly dry Howard Prairie Lake.

“We’re hoping to get through the summer so people can keep renting,” he said.

Down the road in Shady Cove, Raft the Rogue boat rentals says up to 20 groups are going out on the river just during the week.

They say on busy summer weekends can hit up to 50 groups.

“It’s strong this year, slow start. But we did have a record breaking May this year,” said managers, Dennis Hall and Jeffrey Smith.

They say their most concerned with the upcoming 4th of July holiday.

“July is going to be crazy, we’ll sell everything out of the barn. Twice.” To put that in perspective, they rent out nearly 70 rafts.

Austill, Hall and Smith all believe business will continue to ramp-up and potentially break previous records, as this sweltering weather continues.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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