Glenwood Springs to host whitewater conference
September 23, 2005
Hundreds of river enthusiasts will be flowing into Glenwood Springs in early October for a first-ever international whitewater park conference, even as local supporters push for creation of such a facility in town.
The Whitewater Courses and Parks 2005 conference will be Oct. 5-7 at the Ramada Inn. It will be immediately followed by the Whitewater Symposium 2005, scheduled for Oct. 7-10 at the Rock Gardens resort on the Colorado River in No Name, just east of Glenwood Springs.
“We’re really encouraging city officials to attend the conference,” said Lori Hogan, a member of a committee that has been working with Glenwood Springs to try to open a whitewater park in the city.
Hogan is the former tourism marketing director for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and soon will be moving to Jackson, Wyo., to serve as director of communications for the chamber there. She attended last year’s symposium, and when organizers were looking for a place to host it this year, she suggested Glenwood Springs.
The whitewater park convention is an outgrowth of the annual symposium, Hogan said. She said the symposium held a session on the subject of whitewater parks last year.
“Because so many people all over the United States attended it, they decided to do a separate conference altogether,” she said.
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As the parks are becoming increasingly popular, communities are wanting to know how to create parks and to learn from the experiences of other communities that have them, she said.
Local whitewater park supporters hope the conference will further motivate the city to help open a facility. Hogan said she doesn’t want Glenwood Springs to get left behind while other cities take advantage of the growing interest in the parks.
“This is the future of whitewater kayaking,” she said.
Because the Colorado River gets good year-round flows below the Shoshone Dam in Glenwood Canyon, the city also can gain more from having a park than communities whose whitewater parks get only enough water to operate seasonally, Hogan said.
“They’re not getting the economic benefits that we would if we had a whitewater park that was potentially runnable 12 months a year,” she said.
With the backing of the Glenwood Springs City Council, local whitewater park enthusiasts are pursuing a possible site in west Glenwood. They initially had wanted to build a park near the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers. However, Hot Springs Pool officials raised fears that construction of whitewater features on the river and riverbed scouring from the waves of those features could damage the underlying hot springs aquifer that supplies the pool.