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Old 07-25-2005   #41
Poison Slingin'
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 48
Yes, I am worried about the Bighorn sheep.
I am worried about the flies, the insect life and the trout.
I am worried about a piece of the cable they say they plan to use becoming a strainer

Then do a little research and you will see that the impacts of this project on the environment are minimal. This will not be a blanket laid across the entire river, it is 6.7 miles total. The "art" would be in different sections, it's not like a sheep coming down to get a drink would have to walk miles in one direction or the other to get to the river. The sections are short and would provide access to the river.

I worry about the bugs too...especially all the ones on my windshield after a trip down to the gorge. The trout...I think they'll make it. They have survived all the polution from years of mining up stream and whirling disease, they are tough fish.

As far as the cable coming down and causing a strainer...anything is possible, but if you truly are an avid user of the PD stretch then maybe at one time or another you noticed the various mini weather stations placed in the approximate locations of the canvas. They have been there for about 8 years now collecting data. Guess who put them in? It wasn't the National Weather Service. My point is that Christo & Jean Claude have done their research. I worked at a rafting company that helped his team install the weather stations and they were very environmentally conscious people. This is not a project that is going to require lots of heavy equirment and leave scars for years to come. I assure you that they will be avid about that. Yeah, the traffic will be bad and a big pain in the arse for all of us who live and or use the upper Arkansas river valleyk, but it's only two weeks. Enough said...I'm for it.

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Old 07-26-2005   #42
Electric-Mayhem's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 436
I have been hearing about this project for years, as Christo has wanted to do something involving the Ark valley for a while. Heard he wanted to cover ther Royal Gorge first but then moved on to other sections. He did something similar to the Rifle Gap that went largely unnoticed.

Every time I hear about this project, I have a different reaction. Part of me likes the idea that it will bring realization on the part of the world about rivers and keeping them pristine, it will boost the economy of Colorado tourism (and not just the ark valley, since the people who would come to see it would most likely branch out to other areas too) and from a personal financial standpoint, since as a kayaker and rigger this project would be right up my alley.

On the other hand, its kindof a silly project and I think he could come up with better ideas and such. There is also the distinct ecological and safety factors involved with this kind of project. From what I have heard about Christo, the ecological impact of his projects is high on his list of things to think about, so I'm not too worried about it. Also, this wouldn't be like any other type of construction you have ever seen. I have been a part of projects that you would think would leave huge scars and it would be obvious afterwards that it was there, but after the clean up you couldn't. Its also likely to be a much simpler project then it initially seems to be. Since they are stringing long sections of this stuff together, each rigging point will have less impact then it would just by itself.

So I guess what I am saying is that while it is good to have concerns about stuff and to bring them to the table, having an outright unwillingness to even consider this without hearing the man out is silly and ignorant. Like people have said, research it out, come with some valid points to this meeting, mention them in well thought out and succint ways and be willing to hear the solutions. If these solutions and ideas then do not seem up to par then hopefully others will see it and the project won't go on. Going there all upity and indignant will only cause problems that aren't needed. Just realize that Christo and company will have put in the hours researching this and making sure that it will work in a way that makes the least impact in places where that is needed. One does not spend millions of dollars on projects like this without putting some thought into it.


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Old 07-26-2005   #43
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
How is everyone overlooking how assinine it is to spend millions of dollars on this? It's his money, so who gives a shit, right? Is my viewpoint that this is an incredibly wanton WASTE so out there?

I looked at the concept pics and they made me giggle...then grimmace. I can't believe a person could, in good conscience, throw so much money away. Sure, he'll create a few jobs that will benefit the community and he'll recycle the big plastic sheets. It's still sadly wasteful and unfortunately typifies the excesses of the rich and indifference towards the less fortunate the world over. Not to mention creating fodder for every talk show comedian on the dial.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 07-26-2005   #44
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586

Well said.

There are a lot of concerns and questions --- I think this project is not worth it unless you are one of the people who stand to make money off of it.

-Mike G.
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Old 07-26-2005   #45
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 58

(that my overactive immagination can dream up):

Damage or alteration to the banks.
Damage or alteration to the areas leading to the banks.
Increased stress and possible damage to all of the wildlife.
More people who have no respect for the river going closer and closer to the river (speaking of the tourons this might bring)
More garbage polluting the river (from both the set up and tear down and the tourons).
Having new cables falling into the river.
Having a huge tarp fall on top me while I am going down the river.
Having a huge rock come crashing down onto a rafter because some idiot wanted to see what would happen if he threw a rock into the middle of the canavas from above.

...... Oh wait!!! More tourons

Sorry if this offends those of you who make your living off of these tourons.

I am a paramedic/firefighter, I dont think you want to personally attribute to my work load either.

My vote is no
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Old 07-26-2005   #46
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 68

Ummm...... Where do you guys think money goes? It's spent once and gone? You might as well be crying about that water passing you by on the river. Money is recycled and moved from one place to another just like water. Christo's going to do a project (silly or not) somewhere, why not here where the money will flush through the Ark Valley?

If you have legitimate gripes or worries, go voice them. Otherwise, hold your calf in place while your knee is jerking, wait and watch.

I am not sure I understand it. I am not even sure I'll like it. Somebody paid $2+million for a shark in a tank of formaldehyde. That seems stupid. You're not necessarily going to "get" it and neither am I but it should be an interesting process to watch.

I think this will bring about more awareness than harm and might be very cool (or not).
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Old 07-26-2005   #47
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I really like adding some cleanup of rebar on Parkdale and the Gorge. That makes the project worth it to me. A lot of people are saying this is stupid, silly, ugly. I have seen art that people have paid millions of dollars for that I thought was just ugly but someone found it attractive. As far as whether you find the project ugly or not, really shouldnt be the topic of this debate. That is so subjective that it is a waste of time. They arent spending your money so why would you care if it is worth it or not. If they are doing this with minimal impact then I say lets go for it. I agree with Andy H, might be cool to take a float under.
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Old 07-26-2005   #48
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Local, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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This is actually one of the most sound debates I've heard on Mtn Buzz.

Mike Harvey - when this goes under review at the Steamplant, why don't you take the gist of everyone's concerns (BOTH SIDES) including some of the finer points and address them to the general assembly? I know you're a local, and you have a very sound argument including many points that really make sense. Perhaps you could reflect to the decision-makers and civic leaders what environmental, cultural and economic impacts (both positive and negative) that this project delivers.

If this really is only for 2 weeks, that sounds much more plausable. Still -I would be weary of how much preparation and construction time goes into it. If it is 2 months of development for 2 weeks of finished product, it is a good fit. If it is 2 years of work for 2 weeks of finished product, then there are some pretty big issues to contend with.

If this goes through, I could see the rafting companies having a field day with special marketing and promotion plans like "raft under the canopy" type stuff. Remember in Salida and BV, "tourons" = money, so don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Just keep every party's interests in check, and make sure the bighorn and bumblebees stay happy too.
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Old 07-26-2005   #49
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Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 679

You critisize Christo for spending millions on something you think could be better spent on humanitarian efforts, but how do you think that guy with the cardboard sign feels when you drive past him up the interstate ramp with $2,000 worth of bright shiny plastic kayaks on your roof, windows rolled up, AC on? I bet you get something out of kayaking that is difficult to explain to others, right?

From my understanding, the money came from selling artwork of the proposed project. So the $ wouldn't exist if it weren't for the OTR project in the first place. Not a good business move to give the $ to charity, might affect future projects.

As for why? Here is a cut/paste from the FAQ page:

Why are their works so big. What's the point?

Christo & Jeanne-Claude's works are entire environments, whether they are urban or rural. The artists temporarily use one part of the environment. In doing so, we see and perceive the whole environment with new eyes and a new consciousness.

The effect is astounding. To be in the presence of one of these artworks is to have your reality rocked. You see things you have never seen before. You also get to see the fabric manifest things that cannot usually be seen, like the wind blowing, or the sun reflecting in ways it had not before.

The effect lasts longer than the actual work of art. Years after every physical trace has been removed and the materials recycled, original visitors can still see and feel them in their minds when they return to the sites of the artworks.

There is no other way to describe that the feeling of that effect other than to say it is magical.

If you have a legitimate argument as to why this is a bad idea, speak up and make a logical and well thought out line of reasoning. All I've heard are a bunch of "ifs" about wildlife and strainers. I'm sure Christo's group will have answers to these questions so you'd better do some research by Monday if you want to have an intelligent conversation.

If you don't get it, deal with it. Art would be in a shitty state if we only let people produce stuff that everyone "got".

(moving from indifferent to "for" after a good nights sleep)

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Old 07-26-2005   #50
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 122
Originally Posted by paddlebizzle
Rivers are a particularly sensitive ecological resource.
1) I would very much like to understand the impacts not only on Bighorn sheep (I think they would do okay) but am more interested on the impact on insect life, plant ecology, and fish habitat.

2) I want to see how this affects insect populations in terms of hatches, migration, and reproduction. Plants, fish, and bugs have an interconnected relationship. You throw one out of balance and you have problems. I can't see how miles of plastic sheeting covering a river would be good for plant and insect populations.

3) What affect would this have on the amount of UV sunlight on plants, river systems, etc. What about temperature changes and a "Greenhouse Effect?"

4) I'm not jazzed on the proposed experience from a raft/kayak. Perhaps the rafting companies can turn this into something really marketable and make a ton of money (I HOPE THEY DO!). But I see it akin to paddling in a greenhouse, and very unattractive. (Albeit this is my personal opinion).

5) Cables over water = bad. Bad in terms of strainer capabilities, bad in terms of how they're secured to the rock. I can't imagine how the construction and attachment of cables will have zero impact on the surrounding environment. Plus, what happens if one of those sheets tears and falls into the water. Sounds like a fantastic lawsuit.
I write as a paddler and environmental educator.

Paddlebizzle, you ennumerated the potential impacts really well! From reading the information about what they have to do to start this project, they will have to comlete an EA- an Environmental Assessment. This has to be completed for any construction or development- to assess how the project will impact the environment. The results of the EA should be available to anyone who wants to see them. This EA should cover impact on all the things that Paddlebizzle listed. The results will have a huge part in determining if this project will be able to get the permits required to pull it off.

In my understanding, it will be fabric, not plastic, covering the river. The impact on the water life will be affected by the type of fabric. Cotton doesn't hold heat like plastic does... They did not say what type of fabric they want to use. I'm curious.

I really like the idea of requiring them to clean up the section of river they will be using and leaving it better than they found it... getting rid of rebar and other hazards already in the river would be a great thing!

I would also like to know what his statement is for the art. I have a lot of friends who are artists... Going to the art museum with them, I learn deep meanings that the artist intends that I didn't even consider! I would like to know what inspired the artist to do this piece. Is it to show the beauty and fragility of the river? is it to show the pattern of the twists and turns of the river? Is it just for the heck of it? I would like to know.

Art can make a statement. It can be a good thing, if it's done right. Christo's intentions should be to benefit the community, and not just financially. It should benefit the community environmentally as well.

Where will the proceeds of this project go? If a portion goes to preservation or cleanup of the landscape in the Arkansas valley, that would be a huge mark in the project's favor.

I will not be able to go to the public meetings because I live too far away but I would love to hear what Christo has to say... would someone who does make it mind putting it online for us to see?


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