Boaters amazed at changes to Stillwater River following June flooding

Brett French

ABSAROKEE – As veteran boaters have returned to explore the Stillwater River following historic June flooding, they’ve been amazed at what they are finding.

“I’ve never seen a river change like that,” said Ron Lodders, a Billings kayaker who has been running the Stillwater for 40 years. “It’s just really dramatic.”

The high water relocated boulders, uprooted trees, scoured channels and filled in one famous wave caused by a rock ledge named Beartooth Drop, a rapid known for either toppling unwary or inexperienced boaters or pushing them into a midstream bridge abutment.

Waves above the Beartooth Drop were estimated at 12-feet high, even after the river’s water level receded, according to Marek Rosin, owner of Adventure Whitewater, located on the banks of the river just north of Absarokee.

“It’s almost inconceivable how violent the flood was,” Rosin said.

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