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The Gunnison River flows through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose in December.

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Two women died in Gunnison River-related incidents Friday, the National Park Service announced.

A 31-year-old paddleboarder lost control of her board and became stuck on a tree in the river Friday morning. Rangers from the Curecanti National Recreation Area responded. 

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The woman was taken to Gunnison Valley Hospital and later flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in Grand Junction, where she was pronounced dead, 

The body of a 65-year-old kayaker was found that afternoon on the east end of Blue Mesa Reservoir near Iola Basin, authorities said.

The women's names have not been released, and both incidents still are being investigated.

In response to the deaths, the National Park Service closed the Gunnison River between Riverway and Beaver Creek to paddleboards, inner tubes and other low-profile water toys. 

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The start to Colorado's summer came amid multiple river-related deaths, as a Texas man died rafting the Arkansas River and a woman's body was found after she fell into the Rio Grande.

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River-goers statewide must "exercise extreme caution, watch for debris in the water, and be prepared for other high-water related changes," authorities advise.

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Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist with a specific interest in environment and outdoor recreation. She watches way too much Star Trek and is working toward her rescue scuba divers certification. Liz joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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