GJ Whitewater Park update/help needed - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-08-2006   #1
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 80
GJ Whitewater Park update/help needed

The WATER club held an update meeting last night. The update is not great. The organizers are mighty frustrated with the Bureau of Rec./USFWS. Seems alot of misunderstanding and bad communication coupled with bureaucracy has created a situation where the park is possibly not going to be built.

Depends upon $$ of course. The project costs have continued to escalate over engineer disagreements about material costs/designs/etc. for the past year. (Bummer too since the club did an EXCELLENT job of raising $600K. - GOCO, local donations, Town of Palisade, grants, etc)

It is a complicated project involving endangered species and a fish ramp. But the major engineering fight is essentially over the costs of the 4 water park features vs. the costs of just dumping a bunch of rip rap into the river (both adjacent to the fish ladder). The cost difference is huge due to the fact the rip rap alternative requires nothing but rock and the water park requires concrete/mortar. The club is hopeing through a public safety arguement to say if the rip rap were required to be filled in to prevent foot entrapment it would cost more than the kayak park.

In an effort to save the park, the organizers did the politically saavy move and contacted the congressional delegation to intervene. The local congressional reps are faciliating a meeting between the WATER club, supporters, feds, and opposition on August 22nd. in GJ. I am not sure, but it might be a public meeting.

The club is asking for help in mobilizing letters/calls of support to the congressional delegation. They are asking letters to state:

- all alternative address the endangered species protection goal
- however the BoR rock ramp alternative would be a serious public safety hazard
- the whitewater park is the best option for safety, recreational value, and economic development.

Send to:
Sen Allard
400 Rood Ave #215
Grand Junction, CO 81501
fax 970 245 9553
phone 970 245 9553

Sen Salazar
225 N. 5th St. #511
Grand Junction, CO 81501
fax 970 241 6631
phone 970 241 6631

Rep Salazar
225 N 5th St. #702
Grand Junction, CO 81501
fax 970 245 2194
phone 970 245 7107

Also, if you live in Mesa County, Palisade, or GJ calls into your elected would be HUGE in mobilizing political support locally. The City of GJ is just about willing to say they support the project publically...although not provide financial support. Mesa Coutny is a supporter but really needs to have a commissioner at the meeting. Call/email Tillie Bishop!

Not to get political on you all, but just think how much fun mtn biking and Westie would be here if there was a park too?

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Old 08-09-2006   #2
 
Join Date: May 2006
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i think it is rediculous that the city of grand junction wont contribute some money to the whitewater park, it would be huge for them, junction is already turning to one of those "outdoorsy colorado towns" and a necessity for that is a whitewater park
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Old 08-09-2006   #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Quote:
The cost difference is huge due to the fact the rip rap alternative requires nothing but rock and the water park requires concrete/mortar. The club is hopeing through a public safety arguement to say if the rip rap were required to be filled in to prevent foot entrapment it would cost more than the kayak park.
I wouldn't push the issue of having concrete/mortar in the park, since it is definetly NOT mandatory to have a good whitewater park. Durango has had good features for years, and last I checked, none of the rocks were cemented in. This isn't to say that the concrete wouldn't help the features to be more permanent, since it would. But, a pile of well placed rocks is better than nothing, or better than a pile of poorly placed rocks.

Secondly, the foot entrapment issue is more of a concern for inner tubers than kayakers. Plateau Creek is a natural riverbed with plenty of places for foot entrapment, and it has yet to cause a problem. Proper technique should avoid foot entrapment, not artificial riverbeds. A sign stating no tubing would easily kill the need to have a concrete park, since kayakers should be versed in proper swim technique prior to their first moving water experience. (or a sign on swiming safety)

If pushing for a concrete park might cause the entire project to get shut down, then I would compromise and go with a natural rock park, and warn the city that it may need to be rebuilt from time to time (which happens on concrete parks anyway).

I fully support the project. When I lived in GJ I was attending the water park meetings...and that was at least 6 years ago. It should have been built years before now.
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Old 08-09-2006   #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I've heard the new price tag is in the neighberhood of 3 Million, if someone with a more accurate figure would adjust that I'd appreciate it.
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Old 08-09-2006   #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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park costs

ok - also, for frame of reference, how much did the pueblo park cost? anyone?
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Old 08-09-2006   #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 80
clarifications

Again, I am not an expert in this plan at all...contact Pete at Whitewater West after OR this week for more details.

To clarify, the rip rap ramp alternative DOES NOT include a kayak park. It is a 500+ ft long and river wide slope modification of the river bed to force fish into the fish ladder.

Personally, I think the public safety argument is gonna be weak. You would have to be suicidal to float what the BoR proposes, but it is what the WATER club has decided as a strategy. Logic: if you made the ramp "safe", it would cost more than a kayak park alternative.

The white water park alternative includes four features with waves used to force fish into the ladder. I think they are going for mortar given the potential high flows (it hit about 17K cfs this year).

My understanding on the total cost of the project is that the fish ladder and dam modifications will be a bid and the whitewater park another bid for total project costs. The difference between the two is what the club is to pay. So, while the total project costs may be $3 million, the club has to come up with a portion. The costs for the club has apparently more than doubled. I think it was up to $1.2M.

So get on the horn people and call those politicos to pressure the feds to be more supportive, reasonalbe, and flexible.
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Old 08-09-2006   #7
 
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Has the Hot Springs been hit up for a donation/support? They would stand to benefit from park 'n play in Glenwood: "Honey, I'm going boating, why don't you go soak in at the springs." Shit, that's what I'll be saying!

I understand that the springs were against the park in the past, but I think those issues have been resolved.
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Old 08-09-2006   #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Dan, different park. You are thinking of Glenwood Springs, not Grand Junction (aka GJ). Same issues though, just a different locale.

Moshe, might not hurt to modify the design to something very simple. If you haven't already, take a look at what Big Sur is formed from. A flat river bed, and a riverwide flat concrete block with a raised metal grate over the top. I'd do more than that, but there has to be some sort of compromise. I'm with Steve...waht is the cost of other parks? 1.2m seems pretty steep to build a park (although having seen the sight, it is a very large riverbed, and the water force trumps anything else in the state).

What about the inflatable/deflatable bladder alternatives?
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Old 08-10-2006   #9
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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The 500' long, river wide slope to force fish into the ladder seems a little misguided. There's thousands of small fish ladders adjacent to low head damns all over the country. They seem to be more than adequate because they continue to be used. Is there a particular reason this one has to be so extravagant other than who's funding it?
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