The Argo Cascades: Wild Ride
For all its facilities, from parks to softball fields to the liveries, the city uses incident reports filled out on the spot to track problems. Smith says he got only a half-dozen incident reports from the Cascades all last year, and most of them documented "cuts and scrapes," primarily from tube renters who ignored the rule about wearing shoes and went through barefoot.
Saam admits paddlers sometimes go through the narrow drops sideways or backwards but says that's part of the challenge. And, as has always been the case on the river, people can capsize, crash, run aground, or "get scared" and quit before their destination. In those cases, she says, other paddlers or onlookers from shore often pitch in to help. She relies primarily on the same Good Samaritans at the Cascades: since there are usually plenty of folks around there who can help, she feels it's as safe or maybe even safer than the rest of the trip from Argo to Gallup Park.
The Cascades is a popular hit fashioned from a daunting crisis. As such, it engenders something of a look-what's-fallen-into-our-laps grin among city officials enjoying the first blush of its astonishing success. They're like kids who expected a lump of coal for Christmas but found a new bike under the tree.