Breaking Ground on the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park - CO
Grand County, Colorado - Right where the Colorado River emerges from Gore Canyon and enters the meandering flats of the Pumphouse Recreation Area, a new whitewater park is being constructed. On November 21st, a gathering of officials from BLM, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, local landowners and business, and paddlers, joined with Grand County officials to announce the construction of the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park.
The Park is an integral piece of protecting the Colorado River, and a project that AW has been working on for several years. Since 2010, we have worked with Grand County on the concept and design of the Park, helped secure political and financial support, and worked with hundreds of volunteers to define flows that sustain good paddling opportunities along this section of the Colorado River.
"The project provides important benefits to river-recreation and river-health, in Grand County and for many miles downstream" said Nathan Fey in his address to the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony. "This project provides certainty for downstream water users, creates new opportunities for paddlers and anglers, and compliments many other river management actions currently being developed across the Colorado River Basin".
The Park is being built in association with Grand County's Recreational In-Channel Diversion (RICD) water right. The RICD, which was filed in 2010, will protect 2500cfs from being taken out of the river, consistent with Colorado Water Law. The RICD consists of a new in-channel "feature" that is required by state statute to control and measure the flow in the Colorado River at Pumphouse.
The control feature, which will be located on river left, between Pumphouse Launches #1 and #2, has been designed by Jason Carey of River Restoration Engineers. The world-famous surf wave in Glenwood Springs (pictured) was also designed by River Restoration.
"By building this project, and securing important water rights, our communities can enjoy long-term protections for our river and for its many uses. And perhaps most important to AW membership:
- River-based recreational opportunities in the region will be greatly enhanced,
- Paddlers of all ages, from beginner to expert, will have a place to develop new skills in one of the best natural settings on the Upper Colorado River.
- and the local economy will be strengthened by this project, and our continued enjoyment of the river.
Friday's groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the construction phase of the project, which is scheduled to be complete by April 2015. Stay tuned for updates, and for the ribbon-cutting ceremony!