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Clear Creek (CO) is Now Open to Boaters!

Posted: 06/09/2020
by Ian Stafford

American Whitewater has been pressing for an easing of restrictions on Clear Creek near Golden, Colorado for a number of weeks and we are happy announce, as of June 4, 2020, by order of Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick and Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader, restrictions regulating waterway activities on Clear Creek have been modified from a full closure to a partial use restriction within the City of Golden and unincorporated Jefferson County. Under the partial use restriction, single-chambered, air-inflated devices such as inner tubes are prohibited; however, multi-chambered vessels, whitewater canoes, and kayaks are now allowed on the creek. Boundaries of the restriction extend from Jefferson County's western border at State Highway 119 eastward along Clear Creek Canyon through the city limits of Golden to Vanover Park.

In close coordination with our affiliate club, Colorado Whitewater, AW had been in discussions with the Sheriff's office, Police Department, and Fire Rescue since the closure was put into place on April 10. From the beginning, we have understood and respected the closure amidst an unprecedented situation that was putting a strain on our first responder resources. We thank the local community for the patience that was shown while American Whitewater and Colorado Whitewater worked through the proper procedural channels to get this lifted. With the help of the community we were able to clearly highlight the importance of boating on Clear Creek. In total, almost 700 paddlers reached out to local County Commissioners and the Sheriff's office. Although there was plenty of frustration from all parties, this process has allowed AW and Colorado Whitewater to build trust and understanding with these local officials, in hopes of preventing future issues. Throughout this process we worked with elected officials such as State Senators, County Commissioners, and the County Sheriff, and with the voice of the community through our EveryAction, we were heard in a productive and respectful way. 

As spring run-off continues to flow, we encourage all boaters to continue practicing responsible recreation. This will surely be one of the strangest summers we've ever experienced, and while this closure was frustrating, we understand the risk that the police and sheriff's office were concerned about. As a community, we need to ensure that we're doing our part to minimize the risk of overloading an already vulnerable healthcare system. Double check your gear, know your limits, prepare your shuttle setup, and don't push your limits.

It goes without saying that American Whitewater is nothing without its community. Throughout this process we saw and heard great things from so many of you. We are well aware of the frustrations, and understand that this wasn't an easy process for anyone. We are going to continue to build on our relationships with the Sheriff's office and the Golden Police, to ensure smoother conversations and understandings from both parties in the future.

*In order to continue building on good relations with local officials please notify law enforcement promptly of any unrecovered boats in the creek

American Whitewater
Ian Stafford
Boulder, CO 80305