Roaring Fork Conservancy opens new chapter with River Center | PostIndependent.com

Roaring Fork Conservancy opens new chapter with River Center

Aspen staff report

Rick Lofaro of the Roaring Fork Conservancy prepares to take the big scissors to the ribbon t officially open the River Center in Basalt on Friday. Assisting in the ceremony were John Stulp, special advisor on water to Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper, Carter Brookshear of the Conservancy's National Council and former Colo. Gov. Bill Ritter (from left).

The Roaring Fork Conservancy officially opened its River Center in Basalt with a ribbon cutting Friday and it will open its doors to the public today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for tours.

As part of its opening ceremonies, the conservancy presented Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper with its first-ever River Conservator Leadership Award to show appreciation for his key role in development of the Colorado Water Plan, a study of water needs and a blueprint for how they will be addressed.

"The Roaring Fork Conservancy played an instrumental role on the Western Slope in the development stages of (the plan)," the conservancy said in a media statement. "Roaring Fork Conservancy works with diverse stakeholders to implement innovative ideas and impactful actions, and is well positioned to play a crucial and influential role in present and future Western Slope and statewide water discussions."

Its position is better than ever thanks to completion of its 3,800-square-foot River Center (22800 Two Rivers Rd.), west of downtown and adjacent to Rocky Mountain Institute's Innovation Center.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Roaring Fork Conservancy Executive Director Rick Lofaro said the new center is the first facility of its kind in Colorado. The River Center is dedicated to watershed health, research, preservation and education. It's also a permanent home for the 22-year-old nonprofit organization.

A team at Harry Teague Architects designed the stunning structure.

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The ribbon cutting was undertaken by John Stulp, special policy advisor to Gov. Hickenlooper on water, former Gov. Bill Ritter and Carter Brookshear of the conservancy's National Council.