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Old 03-30-2006   #11
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 70
I believe Colorado should be a model as the mentioned Gary Lacy is a local and should be considered a pioneer in developing whitewater parks. But what is also important and what I think truly sells this type of river renovation is that its not just a whitewater park but a "river restoration" that can be enjoyed by everyone. It creates a place for picnics, relaxing by the river, fishing, tubing, swimming and everything in between. There are a lot of case studies here in Colorado where areas that were once a garbage pit have become the center for recreation. Lyons and Golden are good examples and have proven that the local economy has grown directly as a result of the whitewater park. It simply makes sense, think about it, these towns were originated because of the river as source of agriculture, drinking water, and the like so why let them die off as an eye sore? The river is why I moved here and I know a lot of people who can say the same.

To answer your questions, typically, the water starts to taper off around the end of July but we are currently in the works to build a new hole here in Lyons that will run exactly til October 31st thanks to a diversion from a lake. So, your dates will be correct once its built.

As far as a hole every 20 miles, not so accurate but not too far off either. As the post above says, there are a lot here in Colorado.

Somewhere there is a study that shows how much revenue was brought into Golden CO since the kayak park was built. That should help in your effort to convince the town gov to start setting aside the funds to restore or just build a kayak park in your town. Like I said, it just makes sense, not just for kayakers but for everyone.

Good luck.

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Old 03-31-2006   #12
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 106
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just to clarify and so you guys know more about where I'm coming from...

I was at the ww courses and parks conference in Glenwood Springs in October, met lots of key people, including Gary Lacy. Great great informative weekend. The benefits of a park, beyond whitewater are obvioius to me, and it is key to communicate what any given town will get in return for having a ww park. I understand that.

My motivation for starting this thread is a state of low morale, the seemingly insurmountable task of starting a ww park project. Seems that many people in the northeast have this picture of Colorado as a place that has always had super wonderful ww parks that run for 6 months out of the year, with perfect water levels, and they are all within 30 minutes of each other. I know that is not really true. Each project took years to complete, volunteers spend long long hours convincing all the right people that a ww park is a beneficial thing for a town.

What I am looking for is some honest, real perspective on how long these things take to get done.
How much work it takes.
What the problems are, such as wanting a big water spot, but facing the reality of low water for most of the year.

Spring is good for Colorado. Spring is good for the northeast. Since we are really just starting to get going on this ww park thing, we would like to learn from Colorado's mistakes (it's not a neg. on Colorado, just that Colorado has done lots of the difficult work of learning, and we should be smart enough to study what has been learned)

So again...

1. other than the Denver area, how far apart are various ww parks? Like Durango to Pueblo (for example)

2. if your local park could be redone, what would you change?

3. how long is your optimal season? your "useable" season?

4. what other problems do you see?

5. what things were really done well?

Note: I've been to Confluence, Golden, Durango at very low water. Been to Durango at about 2000cfs too. Using Durango as my guage, I can see that Golden and Confluence can be pretty sweet with good water.

thanks. Your posts have been VERY helpful so far. Hopefully we can get some ww parks going so that there is some more reliable water for events. Since the New England season starts just a bit earlier than Colorado, and the rains hit us a little bit in October, I can envision a pretty comprehensive U.S. event circuit in the future....

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Old 03-31-2006   #13
Caspian's Avatar
Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
1. other than the Denver area, how far apart are various ww parks? Like Durango to Pueblo (for example)

-- Everywhere from 45 minutes to 6+ hours apart. Mapquest can tell you specifics.

2. if your local park could be redone, what would you change?

-- I think there is a consensus that every man-made drop should be playable. Out here I think there is also a consensus that we should have tried to make some waves instead of only holes.

3. how long is your optimal season? your "useable" season?

-- I would say optimal is 6 weeks, usable 10 weeks for most folks, but longer if you are exceedingly desperate. Snowpack varies across the different watersheds, though.

4. what other problems do you see?

-- The only problems I find in our parks are non-playable man-made features, which results in crowding at the good features. Colorado has a very outdoor-minded population. If your locale is not similar, you may have problems getting people to see the benefit. People know that Golden gets boater traffic because there are a lot of boaters in Denver. So places like Lyons are more willing to spend on a park when they can see the success in another town they know. One other problem at some places is that large boulders are used to construct drops and they aren't chinked with concrete. This hasn't led to a tuber's foot entrapment yet that I know of, but it will happen someday. A nearby water fountain would be nice. When there is a good feature, you forget most of the shortcomings - they just don't matter as much when you are ripping things up.

5. what things were really done well?

-- Some places have changing areas (not that half of us don't ignore them) and those can be helpful. Denver located Confluence right near an area where lots of people go to hang out, so it's sometimes a little like being at the park (normal kind) - i.e., everyone in a good mood, dogs chasing frisbees, and beautiful women reading a book on the rock making the eddy you're in. Same deal in Boulder, but somehow, they manage to attract rednecks galore. Seriously, last time I ran E-Buttress the park looked like the takeout to the Green Narrows (a.k.a. Redneck Riviera). Union has great parking, which is nice. Same with Golden. I think the big thing done right in these parks has also been location. If you locate in a populous area, it will get a lot of use. If you locate rurally (Steamboat) but have a good enough feature, people will travel for it (esp. if there is also creeking nearby). People will also travel for a feature that is good in the shoulder-season; this is the goal for the October Hole in Lyons.

The good news for you is that if what is true for CO is true for the NE, one park begets another, and then another.

Mike Harvey (that's also his handle on the Buzz) could probably give you some perspective on the timeline issue, having been involved with the BV park (I think he designed it, no?) I would send him a PM or see if he chimes in here.
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Old 03-31-2006   #14
Lyons, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 256
I spearheaded much of the Whitewater Park stuff in Lyons. The first concept of the WWP was in about 1998. Construction started in fall of 2002. Gary Lacy actually did some earlier work here in the late eighties for a fishing for fun project, which is the basis for the Black bear Hole and A-Hole. They have since been improved. The challenging part is the political process in working with the Town, the Park and Rec director, the 404 permit and raising money. You will need to respond to liability concerns, private property concerns and numerous doubters. Learn pragmatism! Develop a strong team of people that have your same vision and be ready to carry the workload on this, since you are probably the most passionate about this. Most people do not realize that many WWP are done by a volunteer that is donating his time to do it.

As for money, we have raised money totally separate from the town and donated the $ ($27,000 now) to the town for construction. We also won the first GOCO grant for a whitewater park in Colorado ($110,000). Both of these efforts take 3-4 months to complete and a lot of work. I do not know if you state has a grant process, but you should check. Doing a fundraiser is nice since you do not have to answer to any town board and go through the budget process (P.S.-it can take a year to get in a town budget) and it really wins them over. See the numerous posts we bombarded Mountainbuzz with a few weeks ago! Again, we started on the October Hole project 2-3 years ago and will hopefully be built it in a few weeks. Try for just one feature to begin with if you cannot get the whole enchilada for a park.

The fun part is actually building the hole, but that is only a small part of the entire process. As for building a park, realize that 99% of the people that will provide you with advice on how to build a feature have never built one themselves. It is a difficult task to get a feature to work. You are working in a huge dry hole in the river with irregular rocks, a huge piece of equipment, a tight budget, a short timeline, a cranky operator, mechanical problems, possibly 8” ice in the river and shitty weather. You have to control water pouring into the hole and many, many unknowns, so it is not realistic to believe that every feature will work the way you envisioned. If you can get 1 out 5 features to work, then I would be damn happy. You can actually duplicate a hole that works awesome in one river and it will not be worth a crap in another. Each feature has a unique location due to gradient, speed, riverbed makeup, straightness, pool height, river banks, and depth. Develop thick skin, because there is no shortage of critics.

As for features, realize that many of the users will be beginner kayakers and tubers. Therefore, you should try to make the features fun and varied. In hindsight, I would have added in a few boof rocks in the features, splat rocks, boulder gardens and multiple channels in a feature. Provide some variety other than cartwheeling holes, because in 5 years everyone will be looking for something different. (I.E.- try for rodeo holes where the river is straight and has some speed, since you need uniformity.)

As for changes it is imperative to get the Town to pony up for $4-$5k each year for river maintenance to tweak a feature. You can improve them to some degree. BTW, the US army corps of Engineers will get tired of this.

Our season will start at the end April with low water, peak in June and then taper off through the end of July. In Lyons, we are building a unique feature to Colorado that will hopefully carry us through October, but that is unusual. That is if it “works”.

Also, develop a keen sense of where you can get large boulders free, because they are expensive to buy. You will also need to provide ample seating for people just hanging out, feature boulders along a path and river access for swimmers, fishermen, and tubers. Like it or not the tubers will come at low water and it will need to be safe for them.

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Old 04-02-2006   #15
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Colorado does have a lot of parks and they are almost all interesting but few are perfect or ideal, if that is possible.

While it is easy to place boulders and cement in a river to create drops/features, it's not that easy to create good waves and to achieve full potential of a location.

As above, I also strongly recommend hiring a professional. They have a lot of knowledge and experience. They will give you good answers to the questions you are asking. They are cheaper than the actual building of the park and they add a lot of value.

Good luck!
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Old 04-02-2006   #16
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
For getting a park built, you generally need a town government to push it. The best reasons for a kayak park are generally along the lines of revitalizing a river, being part of a new in-town park/greenway, or bringing in money. Making us kayakers happy generally doesn't carry much weight with town government.

Getting the town politics to support it and getting the money is the hard part. The town politicians are often not outdoor people and they need to be taught how a kayak park can help them. This is perhaps where Colorado has the biggest advantage--many of our town governments understand the importance of outdoor recreation since that is where our tourist dollars come from.

The economic study for the Golden kayak park would probably be the strongest evidence to convince town governments that this can work.

Also, show these guys pictures of East coast rivers that are normally dry until a dam opens once a week. Show them how in one hour, the river transforms from a dry deserted place to a place hopping with people because of good white water. This shows that if you build it, people will come.
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Old 04-02-2006   #17
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 335
Are ther really existing playparks in Longmont,Aspen ,and Ft. Collins?If so where?I thought Ft. C onlt had 1 feature and people working on raising money and planning.

This may be a pipe dream but I think the future of playparks lay in portable ,temporary ,adjustable features, and pay to play manmade diversions channels.Someone would ,in theory,fabricate a multi-chambered bladder anchored to the streambed by sand bags or rocks.The chambers could be inflated seperately to varying pressures to modify the shape as needed at different flows,when its time to remove it you simple inflate more to make it too bouyant for the anchors to hold and un tether it.
Another version would be to seat post into bedrock on the side of the river and slide a gate with female recepticles at spaced intervals over it,essentiaslly a hinge,another post would be set near the hole to act as a sort of doorstop.The gate ,I am envisioning hollow plastic, would then be waited down on top with sandbags to force it down onto the streambed so noone became entrapped underneath it. The gates would act as constictors and could be adjusted at the female part to widen or narrow the slot.I believe the course in Athens used a concept similar to the gates.
The owner of the bladder would move it /them around to different venues and charge a couple bucks to use it. I am sure there a legal obstacles to this commercial use of rivers.. I am not trying to undermine nature,but we are talking manmade features,if your a purist just go to the wilderness and boat in peace. Just a crazy thought.
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Old 04-03-2006   #18
Bugtussle, Kentucky
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 161
cayo, that was the list I recieved from the folks working on the RICD bill at the Colorado Environmental Coalition. I am the Cartographer/GIS tech for CEC, and I've put together a map with all this info and data, including economic benefits. If anyone knows for sure that this is incorrect info, please let me know.

Some economic numbers/estimates...

Chaffee County:
$80 million: Total beneficial use of all types of recreation
on the river.

Steamboat Springs:
$7.2+ mill. : Estimated Total Beneficial use value / yr.
of the water diverted to the steamboat RICD
$82.4 million : Estimated Total Beneficial use value / yr.
over the next 20 years.

$1.8 mill : Future estimatied annual benefits of waters
diverted in Gore Creek within Vail
$20.6 mill.: Future estimatied annual benefits of waters
diverted in Gore Creek within Vail over 20 years

$1.4 mill : Future estimated annual benefits of waters
diverted into kayak park
$16.1 mill : Future estimated annual benefits of waters
diverted into kayak park over 20 years

$1.36 mill - 2.03 mill: Total Beneficial use per year
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Old 04-04-2006   #19
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 335
Thanks,wasn't trying to give you a hard time. There were some recent posts about Ft . Collins
and I am pretty sure I would know if Longmont had one since a couple boating bros live up there. I could see Aspen putting one together in short order,plenty of money and movers and shakers up there.
Surprised noone ripped my hairbrain engineering or paying to play ideas.I love nature especially rivers,but would definately be a regular at a kayakers waterworld.
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Old 04-04-2006   #20
Bugtussle, Kentucky
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 161
Yeah, I didnt think Longmont had a park, but that was the list to go on from the "water" people...Ill correct the map. Thanks.

So...does Aspen have a ww park??


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