A couple of points I'd like to hit.
1. I don't feel it's appropriate to be questioning another man's right to earn a living for he and his family. In this particular case, Shane has acted as the public face for a company, and by association we collectively deem him guilty of crimes against humanity. Justly deserved or not, none of us have the right to make that assertion without all the facts.
In my last post my words posed the question of "Would you allow Shane a second chance and allow him to manage a new or improvement project at your local WW park?" My intention was to stimulate constructive conversation around this topic. My words following this question were barbed and ill advised and for that I am solely accountable as I crossed a line that throughout this thread I'd delicately toed.
2. WW park construction is not solely about freestyle kayaking. There are other entities involved, who often know nothing of in-stream recreation beyond the bottom line. If the WW community wants their voice to be heard and their concerns to be taken as credible, then they must be involved in the process. In this particular case, I really have no comprehension how it got to the point it did - with the actual construction plans involving potential
changes to something so good - without whitewater kayakers voicing a strong opinion against it. The bottom line is that it did, and I'd hope that in the future all entities involved - including the engineers - seek out public / WW opinion. Much as the case is with Swiftwater Rescue, I feel those that play and practice in this environment every day have a better understanding and ability to forsee potential
changes than those pulling the triggers.
3. WW park construction is not a science. The individuals involved in building these parks are pioneering a new field which, as evidenced by other locations, often takes a bit of trial and error before it's gotten right. Engineering degree or no, there are a lot of factors that go into getting it right and I'd argue that even those involved still have differing opinions on what makes it work or not work. In most of these ww parks, additional budgets have been built in for "maintenance" after initial construction has been completed. Shane promised that they'd come back and fix the features if they didn't work. He's been true to his word as work has been done in an effort to fix what wasn't working. I believe that as a paddler who understands the concerns of this community, and as a professional who's in the business of engineering WW parks, he'll continue this effort until it's as good as it can be within reason. (sorry Reed, no time machine)
4. "We are not touching the "Lawson Hole" and have no intention of changing that feature."
If you were a lawyer, and this went to trial, you'd mince that statement up to prove that the words stated are in fact true. I'll let others debate the semantics of "touch", "contact", "Lawson Hole", "intention", and other such big words - but some would argue that the actual hole was never physically touched and there certainly was no intent to change the hole...it just happened. While engineers who, by my estimation, should have the experience and knowledge to know better went ahead with the plans - the WW community accurately predicted the outcome before the physical changes were ever effected. This debate is as sticky as recreational access issues in CO, have fun.
In my eyes, they went ahead with the plan because of two factors:
1. It's what Clear Creek County told them they wanted
2. They felt as though through "maintenance" that the overall improvements to the park would outweigh any potential
disruption to the Lawson Hole.
The intention of the Lawson WW Park was to create a connection point for the Clear Creek Greenbelt as well as to create in stream improvements that would attract recreational users to the area and better facilitate existing activities. Rafting is one of those other activities and now there is a nice ramp to a nice put-in, with a pull in drop off point in the lot and a new bridge to facilitate rubber traffic heading downstream. It's clearly evident that Clear Creek County found this to be a priority rather than protecting the the integrity of the original Lawson Hole. It's too bad they didn't hear these concerns and alter the plans to make the boat ramp terminate below
the existing feature. In a small community like Clear Creek County, who admittedly wants to attract people to the area through these parks and their amenities, I think they should seek out core users for input and engineering firms could help facilitate this.
I'm very confident that Shane along with his colleagues will be back up there to do more Maintenance until they, or Kaleb
, feels that the hole is back to being close to what it was - or better. So when it gets to that point, enjoy the rafts putting in just above you and don't forget to wave at the passengers as you wait in the eddy to access the hole.