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Old 11-18-2004   #1
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4
Looking to build the best whitewater park in CO, need info!

I would like to know some feelings/thoughts from boaters on a couple of different whitewater parks:

Farmington, NM
Durango, CO

Your feedback is extremely important and appreciated.

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Old 11-19-2004   #2
rivermanryan's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
What location are you looking at? Are you thinking of a new park in the 4 corners area? I thought about doing the initial research into a whitewater park that is located in a town that has a small under-utilized park along the river, 500-700cfs into September, and a decent gradient. Are we thinking of the same place?

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Old 11-19-2004   #3
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4
I can't say right now...

I am trying to find out the use at other parks, which parks that are favorites, best holes, etc.

Any opinion?
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Old 11-19-2004   #4
cosurfgod's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 384
Unless you are not familiar with boating in area it is very obvious where everybody is when the water is in. CORNER POCKET. There is some play at the Smelter Hole and some smooth surfing at Big Kahuna but the only real feature that is worth a shit is the corner pocket.

I have been to Farmington a couple of times in the shoulders of the season but have never found it worth the drive. Some people might disagree but I would say that area is just for beginners, very user friendly but not a great place to play.

In my opinion Durango needs a low water play hole similar to Salida. We have the flow and gradient, it is ridiculous to have to drive to Salida or BV in July to play at a 500 cfs feature when we have 650 cfs but no play. We need more features just don't mess with the corner pocket, it is great when the water is over 1,000 cfs and up.

Don't spend any more money in Farmington, they do not have as many boaters as Durango.

I hope this helps answer your question, you didn't make is very clear. If you are in Durango and looking to make some river improvements please let me know, I would love to help improve the Animas river in any way.

Including putting a stick of TNT in the ALP. Seriously.
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Old 11-19-2004   #5
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
I have to agree with cosurf the best way to make the to improve the boatin in durnago is a big arss plug in that pipe - you might want to try ben nighthorse cambell - I just thought he would be a good fit for the job -
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Old 11-19-2004   #6
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4
I wanted to let everyone know that this park will not be located in Durango, Colorado or Farmington New Mexico. :P

Also, I am interested in what can make or break a whitewater park, where your favorite whitewater park is and why...
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Old 11-19-2004   #7
looking buisy
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 70
durango and farmington are the only play parks I've ever visited in the southwest. at farmington it's not real good unless the flow is 3000cfs and greater. durango is good at just about any level because of it's location, it could be a small mountain brook,and there would be people sitting next to it daily. although like others mentioned it needs a low water play feature.[/u]
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Old 11-22-2004   #8
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14
playpark feedback - 4 corners

in my personal experience, the best parks offer the easiest access to the general public for viewing and showing our sport to a wider audience. this should not be a forgotten goal of any project. also these parks or their locations, have significantly improved the sites from their original underultilized states. and lastly, another goal of a playpark outside of the obvious play aspect, should be to provide access for beginners or a classroom for learning to paddle - the parks need to be for all paddlers.

more specifically in regards to durango and smelter/santa rita park, yes there is a good playpark location - riverside trail, close to downtown, both slalom and playboating use this spot and a variety of features with good eddy access which lessen in difficulty as paddlers head downstream. the ideal water level for playing in durango is limited in its optimal flow, ideally there would be a lower water feature(s). also there could be a hole of some size at lower flows, and/or a wave at any flow which could occur with some riverbank constriction. korner pocket is the best feature hands down, but when it drops out there really is nothing else, as smleter rapid is now worthless in terms of play, but still good for slalom training.

farmington is another spot that created something where there was previously nothing, so it is an overall benefit to the local community. it is also tied into an existing river trail and riverside restoration project. the course itself is more suited to learning to paddle, than for true playboating at a higher level, and this fits the needs of that community. yes, it would be good to have deeper playspots there as they are shallow, but folks can learn to sidesurf there when there isn't even a hole in durango working.

it is encouraging to see that there is a real interest and movement so to speak of whitewater parks being created throughout colorado and other locations. with all future projects, i hope we can try to balance the needs of the beginners while highlighting a spot for the 'players.'
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Old 11-22-2004   #9
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
The Buena Vista park is my favorite because of the feature. Steamboat second.

You might take a look at some of the man made natural wonders of CO, including Montrose Wave, Big Sur, and Lucky 7 (don't ask, they're all on past posts). I like those features better than most whitewater parks in terms of the whitewater.

Great features that are good at low flow are key to a park's success. On top of that spectators and local access, as well as an event friendly set up. All you really need is one good wave hole for the boaters to come. Forget 12 features that are all mediocre.

two pennies
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 11-23-2004   #10
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 316
I agree with Cutch... a workable low water feature is very important. But I also think it is important to plan for more than just one feature.... Take a look at the rivers low, medium, and high flow averages and plan to build at least three rapids that would be optimized for those flows. (for example take golden; its low flow average is probably around 100, its medium flow is about 250-300, and its high flow average is about 500, It does peak out at around 1000 for a few days it seems like all of the rapids are built for that medium flow avergage wich only makes it usable for about a month)

Also if the location allows then build maybe three rapids for each one of the average flows, this will allow the crowds to thin out at a rapid and since it would be impossible to make all three identical you would have a feature that might be better suited for a begginer.

I have heard of this place called the Ditch in New Mexico I think. I hear you can loop in it at like 60 CFS sounds too good to be true but worth looking into.

Good luck,


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