Originally Posted by dbendell
READ and WEEP, this guy calls himself a guide and one of us, Mr Black is like a log stuck in eddy, keeps swirling and swirling and swirling.
Read the comment sections of articles.
off the charts.......
Investment in Smelter Rapid is valuable and merited
The recent story in the Herald on 7/1/15 “How Dangerous is the Whitewater Park?”, has developed a hefty collection of comments. It seems to be Mr. Black against the rest of the world in the comments. Some of Durango’s best and foremost river runners had things to say about the article and the comments. Mr. Black has used unfounded words like “weirs”, ‘dams”, “keeper holes”, “hazards”, and even stooped to the lowest “death”. The bottom line appears that Mr. Black has a problem with tax dollars going to natural, outdoors projects. Smelter Rapid was and still is a man-made rapid. From the early days Durango was settled, residents have modified the river’s course thru town. I have grown up with this river since the 80’s.
As it was restated in the comments, the rapid in the early days was filled with many hazards, including old cars, jagged rocks, rebar/concrete—all “man-made.” Smelter was regarded as a “hazard” within the river community. A swim down this section might get you killed, but more than likely you would get a few stitches or some nice bruises. Throughout the years, the city has put money into re-arranging rocks here and there and removing debris, making it a safer place and extending the river running season.
The river community in Durango may be one of the largest per capita in the US. There is a lot of experience in this town, from world class athletes to long time guides to river runners with 30-40+ years running rivers. There are also a ton of recreational river runners, evidenced by how large and fun the Animas River Days boat parade has become. The river that runs thru our town is an asset which a large number of our citizens and visitors enjoy. Our river brings tax revenue to the city and its local business establishments. The modification to this rapid has extended the season far beyond the old days.
The New Smelter Rapid is very large in comparison to the Old Smelter Rapid. In the old days, I felt that it was a haphazard flow of current around a bend with a ton of misplaced rocks and pourovers. Now, it’s a rapid. It’s a place at higher flows that one needs to pay attention as to how to run it. It’s big, fun and has a lot of features that include large standing waves and holes. Yes, at high flows the odds of flipping are much higher. Yes, the boatman must know his/her line to properly navigate this rapid. Yes, a swimmer here is highly likely. Yes, Mr. Black, this rapid is now truly a rapid of greatness and full of big crashing water. And what’s more, it has been acknowledged that it is a work in progress. I, for one, feel the investment in this rapid is valuable and merited. I also support any future allocations of money towards river improvements.
I would much rather swim the New Smelter Rapid than a lot of other rapids I have encountered in my days. This rapid can kill you if the right variables exist, but what rapid doesn’t have these variables in some shape or manner? The Whitewater Park is a huge improvement to our community. Thank you, City of Durango. Thank you to the many that help push this thru and make it an asset to our community.
Don Bendell, Jr
PS. Please use a life jacket at all times.