I was trying to ignore this stuff, but I am human and can only take so much abuse of my mentor, boss and good friend. I work for Gary and REP although, I have not been involved in the Lawson project so I'll let Shane speak for that one. He put his number online here and I know he would welcome any and all of you to call or stop by. He is a super cool guy and a ripping boater so it is not like he does not get your concerns.
I completely understand your concerns about the Lawson hole. I have paddled there a fair bit. It is a great little spot.
Originally Posted by Don
Lacy is involved, we're screwed! Everything he has done has turned into crap.
Don, Gary is an innovator and through his hard work and vision we have the words "whitewater park" in our vocabulary. It takes courage to push through these projects through and then actually build something in an environment (rivers) that is very unpredictable and unforgiving. Then you have to sit back and watch and listen to throngs of boaters criticize your efforts. REP and Gary have done 80% of the parks out there so of course we get criticized more than most and that is OK and we try hard to listen and find solutions when things are not working well. If we were scared of criticism we would just go design curb and gutter.
Whitewater parks get built for a lot of reasons. However the number one reason a whitewater park gets funded and built is to facilitate public recreation along a river corridor. Where I am working this week in Springfield, Ohio very few people understand our little niche sport, but they do understand that getting their kids and local residents to enjoy their local river is a good thing. Does that mean that you can't have high quality whitewater and all those other good things too? Of course not. We are boaters first and foremost. Gary has worked with local communities all over North America to create amazing parks along rivers that become the jewels of their communities.
The Boulder Creek Greenway is regularly noted as one of the most popular features of that community and is an example of a project that Gary created, which improves the lives of people who live there.
It was hard for me to broaden my perspective when I first started working for Gary (all I really wanted was a playspot in my backyard) to understand that these places are public waterways and are governed by a litany of federal and state laws. The regulatory process of these projects is now measured in years not months and hard questions have to be answered in order to get a project approved. It is not like you just start excavating and building a skate park for kayakers. There are a ton of other factors and at the end of the day freestyle kayaking is one of those factors, not the only one.
I learned a hard lesson in BV a few years ago when I tried a new design in the hopes that we would have a super high end playspot and later that summer people were swimming out of the Downtown hole in BV. Very few intermediate paddlers were using the park (and I did not sleep for 3 moths worrying) until we went back and softened the hole. Now they can have a pro freestyle contest there and not worry about a 2nd year boater swimming out of the hole and having a negative experience. That is another balance we have to walk.
I think it is a little unfair to trash Gary's 30 year career. I will politely dispute that everything Gary has done has "turned into crap".
Originally Posted by benrodda
Keep in mind that while they have ruined many spots, not everything they touch is awful. Take Salida for example. I think they may have done some other projects that work... right?
We are a pretty picky group and not really quick to give credit when something works really well. If you guys can think of other positive REP projects it maybe reassuring.
If they mess this one up they will have every boater who has any vested interest in future parks fighting future REP projects.
Honestly I did not post to defend our track record. We work hard to design and build good projects that communities can be proud of. Sometimes whitewater features don't work as well as we hope. One thing I can tell you we never set out to do is "ruin" anything.
I hope that the Lawson project works really well and everyone is happy. You know where to find Shane if you have questions or concerns. I think our 2 new spots in the Ark Valley (1 in BV, 1 in Salida) will be a net positive for our communities, just like bringing some fun river surf to my home state of Ohio right now, will be a good thing for the folks in central Ohio.
What I do know for sure is that the place I am raising my kids, Salida, is a better place to live because people get to enjoy the Ark in downtown and I know others that would say the same thing about their hometowns where we have built parks; like Golden, or Reno, NV or San Marcos, TX, to name a few. Thanks. Mike