We’ve compiled some of the top river news to bring you a summer summary of Colorado’s rivers. Read on for the top headlines of this raft season.
Browns Canyon River Designated as a National Monument
After decades of efforts put forth by the local community, politicians and wilderness supporters, Browns Canyon was officially designated as a national monument by President Obama this February. This is an incredible win for the Buena Vista and Salida area attraction as it will consistently provide protection for Browns Canyon. Most popular perhaps for its popular whitewater from the Arkansas River that runs through, Browns Canyon spans over 21,000 acres, filling the Colorado wilderness with beautiful red rock and rugged cliffs, sprinkled with the backdrop of incredible mountain peaks.
The canyon will be under the supervision of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management jointly, and all recreational activities, including rafting, fishing, hunting, hiking, climbing and more, will continue.
Rafting on the Upper C
Ski-Hi News hit the Upper C this summer in our inflatable kayaks, or better known as duckies. Read all about the experience here.
Gore Canyon Water Park Opens
The Gore Canyon Whitewater Park hosted its grand opening on July 13. The $1.7 million project came to pass after over six years of planning. Officials from the counties of Grand, Summit and Eagle hosted the celebration of the park serves as a mecca for rafters of all vessels. The park is located at the Pumphouse area, settled in between the class V whitewater of the upper section of Gore Canyon and the popular class II stops of State Bridge and Radium Hot Springs.
The opening of the park also serves an effort to protect the rights of future recreational water usage. The importance or recreational water activities to Grand, Summit and Eagle County is directly tied to the success of their economies. Having healthy rivers encourages fishing and boating, and those activities have a notable effect on the summer economies of those counties and protect the future of those economies.
The Animas River
On August 5, the Gold King Mine experienced a massive leak that caused the Animas River of southern Colorado to become contaminated with 3 million gallons of heavy metal rich wastewater. The effect was a neon orange Animas River and the halt of all businesses that operate on the Animas. The devastation crossed state lines as the wastewater flowed south, filled with very high levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium and mercury. Colorado, New Mexico and Utah were those heaviest hit by the contamination when the Animas flowed into the San Juan River of New Mexico. The two rivers combined are used for five water supply systems, and many adjacent farmers are being hit hard with water shortages for crop irrigation.
Much of the community is calling for legal action against the EPA, criticizing them for their slow response to the tragedy. At this time, all signs point to the Animas as back to normal, with tests indicating the heavy metal levels have dropped significantly. The community is weary, however, as the effects of heavy metal on the human body are often slow to become obvious and the fear of long-term consequences is on the forefront of everyone’s mind.