LaPorte Play Park - the latest - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-12-2010   #1
LaPorte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 35
LaPorte Play Park - the latest

Hi Folks,
You may be wondering the latest is on the proposal for a whitewater park in LaPorte for paddlers and fisher people. Well, for now, it is probably fair to say it's stuck in a hole (see Laporte Play Park – 10/11/2010 Update | Poudre Rock Report for the full story).

The main reasons given by the County to put it on hold for now are:
1. Larimer County is broke (both staff time and money) and a bit demoralized about what can be done (my interpretation),
2. the Colorado Division of Wildlife has not supported the idea,
3. one adjacent landowner is not enthusiastic,
4. there is concern about the possible impact of the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP; including Glade Reservoir), and
5. they seem to believe that getting FEMA approval would be very expensive (they estimate $150,000).

I don’t believe any of these issues NEED to be stoppers. With a “can do” mindset, we could generate solutions to each of them that would be acceptable to all parties involved.

What can we do?
  1. Try not to get too disheartened.
  2. Form a recognizable group whose mission is to get whitewater play features on the Poudre River. At almost every meeting with public agencies, I am asked if there is a group spearheading this action – I try to explain that, with the exception of the Poudre Paddlers and the Colorado WhiteWater Association, kayakers are relatively solitary folks who paddle with a few friends at a time. I think this weakens our case. I think it would be of value to form a group dedicated to whitewater recreation on the Poudre River (its voice might be strengthened if it had members who were not only kayakers, but also canoeists, fishermen and women, etc. It might be called something like Poudre River Players – ideas welcome!!) And I will be out of the country for a block of time, so I will be out of action for a while.
  3. Figure out a way to help the CDOW transfer the Lions Park land ownership to Larimer County if both parties are willing.
  4. Use modeling to present a credible flow regime if NISP is constructed and the Greeley pipeline becomes a functioning reality.
  5. I think it would be of great value if we could formulate a design. It is very easy for people to reject an idea when we are talking in generalities. The County representative I spoke with was concerned that something designed for the current flow regime might not work in the presence of NISP – I was trying to explain that features designed for the current range of 0-4000 cfs or so would likely be optimized for lowish flows anyway. If we could get suitably skilled volunteers to survey the site, model the flows and generate an approximate design, this would help us all negotiate on the same page.
Sorry I don’t have better news. Don't give up. If we'd had it in place this year, we'd have been playing there in October!!!!!


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Old 10-12-2010   #2
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 400
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Thanks for all of your hard work on this project. Let me know how I can continue to help in any way.

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Old 10-12-2010   #3
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
Why are these people such... uh good caught myself, but for crying out loud. Every other river that runs through a city or town in this state has a playpark. Wake the F up Larimer County!

I am not discouraged.
Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 10-13-2010   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,107
Good luck! Don't give up. A brick wall is unfortunately the first step in many of these processes. Figure out what the issues are and then find a way around them.

Golden has fishing improvements upstream and a kayak park downstream. It is possible for kayakers and fishermen to coexist without the planet exploding.

FEMA analysis sounds like a tactic to discourage. I've seen agencies throw out the high cost of environmental analysis as a road block to even considering something. Environmental analysis was meant to stop bad things, not to stop everything. Push forward and see if you can find a common sense, low cost solution. Talk to the guys that build parks professionally and see how they managed these types of issues.

Getting and organization behing you is key. Using CW is fine. Just as long as you have some name to tie yourself to so that you don't come across as the lone ranger.

You may have already done this, but a list of parks built over the state and some positive testimonials from city or county officials in the places that built parks could help your cause. Maybe getting the rafting companies to give some support might help to. Some times bringing commercial interests into the group might help.

I'd also go straight to the fisherman. Figure out an idea that improves fishing habitat and has a dedicated fishing area and get the fisherman on board. Its hard for the CDOW guys to say it will hurt fisherman if the actual fisherman like the project. Talk to local fly shops or get a local trout unlimited contact's name.
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