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Old 01-10-2005   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Palisade WW Park update?

The Denver Post had this article on how the Railroad is denying the building of an access road to the planned Palisade WW Park.,...643379,00.html

The right of way extends 55 feet from the tracks yet the planned road is 25 feet from the railroad. The denial seems pretty mean.

Does the article say it all or is there more information? Is the railroad just maneuvering for some leverage, such as having someone build a fence or being absolved of legal liability?

Can this really end the project? I sure hope not.......

By the way, kudos to the people who got the Denver Post to write the article and put pressure on Union Pacific. Let's hope it works.......

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Old 01-10-2005   #2
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 803
Sounds like we need to mount the troops. This Palisade WW park could provide truly excellent year round play! Where else in Colorado has these kinds of year round flows (1000cfs all winter). Did I mention there would be year round boating. To send Greg Larsen an email go to this link

...but before we get too fiesty, Winn family, are you out there? Have you already mounted a counter attack? How can we make this happen aside from holding a prominent Union Pacific wife hostage? Letters to the editor? Boycott Union Pacific?

P.S. Any Glenwood update?

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Old 01-10-2005   #3
Chief Niwot's Avatar
West of Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 643
Here is some more information from Dennis Adams of RMCC.

Dear Paddling Friends, Concerning the Grand Valley River Park--a
> project that would be a million dollar plus windfall gift to boaters
> from the US Government. We have our funding, our plans drawn up, we have
> the blessings of the Federal, State, and local governments. We have
> permission to proceed and the good graces of the local and state
> entities that were once suspicious, even hostile. The local public and
> media are behind us. Construction bids are ready to put out in 25 days.
> I wish I could share that all is well.
> At the last moment we have a very major hang-up --the Southern
> Pacific and Burlington Northern Railroad. They recently informed us in
> writing that they will not give the public access to the only land route
> leading to our river park. Their service road, which local private
> entities have used for decades, will be available for construction crews
> but not the public. Without their permission for public access the
> Bureau of Reclamation cannot include the whitewater park features in
> with their plans for a fishladder.
> Sensing safety and liability concerns we have made formal offers
> to fence the tracks off from road. The Town of Palisade has offered
> liability insurance. Until recently we had verbal assurances that they
> (SP&BN) would be able to accommodate us. Their recent letter stating
> other intentions was an unplanned for surprise. Their conduct
> afterwards, that of being unapproachable is even more alarming and
> perhaps gives validity to the long held stereotypes about railroads
> being above society. Without giving reasons or offering any form of
> communication they have retreated into a shell back at their
> headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Without their permission this
> whitewater park project is over.
> We have 25 days in which to encourage them to formally change
> their minds and grant permission or the party's over for what would be
> one of the best whitewater parks in the country. Our first need is
> simply to get their attention. They are not answering calls or letter.
> One thought is that we need to work through their stockholders and
> customers but that is certainly not easy. (Anyone out there own a coal
> mine or a few hundred SP&BN shares? )
> Another Avenue of approach is our elected representatives. We are
> working to get the help of Ken and John Salazar. (John Salazar is the GJ
> area US House representative.) Both are very new to the National
> political scene and will need help from their peers. Your help by
> writing to these people will impress them how important this is. As
> significant and perhaps more affective would be any help at all you can
> possible silicate from other representatives. We are also approaching
> Wayne Allard whose roots are more on the eastern slope. Some letters to
> him from other parts of Colorado (especially the Front Range) would
> surely impress him of the regional interest.
> Finally we need for you to spread this message out as far as
> possible. We very much need to get a lot of action in a short time. It
> is important to emphasize that this park is not just some small town's
> pet project or the play area for a few locals. With high water flows up
> to 40,000 CFS and (three) four-foot high, riverwide drops coming after
> swift water lead-in it would have big water features offered at no other
> whitewater park in this country. The site would be natural for regional
> and national wildwater racing events. The runnout pools below the drops
> make it a great venue for paddling instruction and for youth programs.
> Being at an altitude that is thousands of feet lower than other regional
> parks and having a dependable winter flow will certainly make this site
> a major off-season training site for racers (both slalom and wildwater),
> rodeo and freestyle types, and as well for recreational paddlers.
> Without some immediate action this park will not happen. Once
> again thanks for your help~~Dennis
> The webpage link is and the address
> is UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD CO. Dick Davidson, Chairman and CEO Union
> Pacific Building 1416 Dodge St.
> Omaha, NE 68179
> Phone: 402/271-5000

Here is contact information that may be helpful:
> Allard, Wayne - (R - CO) Class II
> (202) 224-5941
> Web Form:
> Salazar, Ken - (D - CO) Class III
> (202) 224-5852
> Salazar, John T
> 1531 Longworth House Office Building
> Washington, D.C. 20515-0603
> Phone: (202) 225-4761
> Find your Representative:
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Old 01-10-2005   #4
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Their service road, which local private
> entities have used for decades, will be available for construction crews
> but not the public. Without their permission for public access the
> Bureau of Reclamation cannot include the whitewater park features in
> with their plans for a fishladder.
If the issue of access for the public is truly at an impasse-

What about construction of a pedestrian bridge from the opposite side of the river? I'm thinking of the bridge over Santa Rita hole in Durango as an example. The construction crew could use the road for building the features and bridge, while access for the public would be via the walking bridge.

I am not that familiar with the layout of the proposed site, so I'm not sure what exists directly across. I'm sure this would up the construction cost by quite a bit, but better than the whole project going in the crapper. Thoughts? Am I trippin'?
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Old 01-10-2005   #5
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Hitting up the politicians is probably the best alternative for getting their attention and getting this issue raised to a higher level. I think it is important that Union Pacific see that this is not a small park--but a state-wide and perhaps nation-wide park.

Here's the letter I scribbled to Wayne Allard:

Dear Mr. Allard,

Could you please ask Union Pacific Railroad to review their recent denial of allowing a secure road to be built 25 feet from their tracks to a new white water park at Palisade, Colorado.

This white water park would be spectacular--likely the best in the country. Not only will many people in Colorado enjoy it, but it will attract people from all over the country. White water kayaking is a fast growing sport.

As I understand it, Union Pacific denied giving permission for the road despite that the project would have installed a secure fence to protect the tracks and avoid any people/railroad conflict. The 25 foot distance between the road and the railroad is sufficient for building a safe fence. Unfortunately, the railroad right-of-way is 55 feet. Moreover, the town of Palisade offered to assume liability for the road and any people/railroad conflicts.

So much effort has been put into this white water park and so many pieces are in place. Permission from Union Pacific is the only remaining obstacle. It seems strange that they would deny this jewell to be built. Union Pacific is ignoring requests of appeal. Perhaps your request for review will get better attention than ours.

Thank you very much.
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Old 01-11-2005   #6
Monroe, Utah
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 137
I don't know who to get a hold of or if it would do any good, but I think the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints (Mormon) is a major stock holder in UP. Maybe someone out there who reads this would know who to approach from this angle with this problem. I was really looking forward to driving a few miles from Utah to have a place to spend many weekends for dependable play. Hope it gets solved.
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Old 01-12-2005   #7
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
What about construction of a pedestrian bridge from the opposite side of the river?
Good idea, but the proposed site is right against the I-70 corridor on a very tight corner. Even if they could put a sidewalk in on the river left side the nearest parking facility on that side (that would be remotely feasible) would be at least 1/2 mile downstream.

The best way for the whitewater park to be able to sustain a high volume of paddlers is to have the parking structure and park like facilities on the river right side, directly next to the railroad.

This project needs to happen! There has to be away to work things out with the railroad...
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 01-17-2005   #8
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 45
Everyone make a contact

I contacted the UPRR at

and J. Salazar at
Phone: (202) 225-4761

requesting support and resolution of differences. Easy to do and you should too, right now. A very good point to make to bussiness professionals and politicians is that this park will be an economic benefit for Western CO! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2005   #9
ski_kayak365's Avatar
Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 702
Can anyone post this same topic on I can't seem to get my comp to let me register. The more people that know, the better. Specially for forums that are more used across the nation. Maybe even people that have those stockshares.

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Old 01-19-2005   #10
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32
Hey ski_kayak365:

Is this Josh Hollenbeck by chance?

"Just what in the hell do you think you're doing?" "Well, learning about Cuba and having some food."
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