Glenwood likes idea of white-water park | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood likes idea of white-water park

Greg Masse
Special to The Aspen Times

The current tide of public opinion seems to favor a white-water park where kayakers can go Eskimo rolling down the river.

At a meeting Wednesday at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, city leaders and about 40 river users gathered to share their opinions on where and how to build a park. The meeting also was used to gauge public opinion.

Although there were some concerns aired, members of the public expressed nearly unanimous support for the construction of a whitewater park as long as it is done right and with an eye toward environmental issues.

“I was encouraged. There was a good response from a lot of user groups,” Glenwood Springs community development director Andrew McGregor said.

“I think it’s a good idea in the right place,” said Jeff Dysart, owner of Roaring Fork Anglers and Alpine Anglers. “It could relieve pressure by putting them all in one spot.”

He did, however, mention the importance of being able to navigate his fishing dories down the river.

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Many of those in attendance were kayakers who showed up to support the idea of creating a whitewater park.

But even with their concerns about conflicts, anglers, rafters and other river users seemed generally supportive of a park.

The decision on exactly where to locate the park hasn’t yet been made, but it would most likely either be put along the end of the Roaring Fork River from Veltus Park to Two Rivers Park, or along the Colorado River from Grand Avenue to the west end of Two Rivers Park.

Kayak parks usually are comprised of water features where kayakers can play on a wave, whoosh down a small waterfall or hit a few rapids.

“What we’re thinking about is a series of well-designed and well-placed boulder installations,” McGregor said. “Obviously we have to maintain a navigable channel.”

Other concerns included the possible disturbance of trout spawning beds, a silt buildup caused by a kayak wave that could be unhealthy for fish and whether there is enough parking to support a horde of kayakers with their accompanying cars.

On the positive side, it was pointed out that the park could generate revenue, provide entertainment for shorebound onlookers and give kids a positive activity to do in the summertime.

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