We rode them 2 summers back...but Ive seen them open in the spring summer and into the fall.
I just always question if there is some sort of motor? I mean Ive watched groups on this boat barely paddling, you would think at some point, they would have a group that just cant get around or is so unequal they go way off track, but nope...always pretty much on the same line, and around the rivers in approximately the same time...hmmm
The canoes are very much operational...just ask the CM's who continue the grand DL tradition with the early morning race tournament they have in the summer months, conducted in the very early AM before the park opens.
Perhaps the OP is thinking of the Mike Fink Keel boats, which closed after a boat capsized in 1997 tossing a load of guests into the drink.
Not the park's best era. It was right around then that you had the death from the poorly secured rope hook on the Columbia, and the BTMRR disaster...