Scenes of the river |

Scenes of the river

Courtesy photo by Chad Rudow

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” When Tim O’Keefe talked about these raft trips, he mentioned nesting herons, eagles and osprey.

Not rapids.

“This is not necessarily (for) having an adrenaline sort of experience,” explained the education director of the Roaring Fork Conservancy.

Instead, for the second straight year, he’s helped plan this series of calm, nature-filled floats. For the next two Wednesdays, he and fellow Conservancy employee Chad Rudow will take turns guiding people from Carbondale to Glenwood, starting on the Crystal River and ending on the Roaring Fork, right in front of White Water Rafting.

“It’s basically an opportunity to get out on the river, learn about the wildlife and water issues,” O’Keefe said, “basically experience the valley from the river’s perspective.”

Though not incredibly formal, he feels these trips are planned out, educational and completely geared toward the audience. Very often a family affair, they have the neat nature sightings for the kids, while adults can get involved in discussions about big concepts.

“I think what comes across is our passion for water and water related issues,” O’Keefe said.

Describing where his passion comes from took a bit more time. He thought about it for a few beats, and finally mentioned growing up near rivers and oceans on the East Coast. Since 1996, he’s worked with water, and always been affected by how basic and important the substance is. Here’s something we all need, all use. Why not learn about it?

“I think a lot it has to do with how dynamic water is,” he explained.

What most people outside the world of water don’t know is that Colorado’s waterways are more managed than other states’ in the country, he went on. There’s something satisfying about breaking down the complex twists and turns in water policy for people. It feels like it really matters ” even if he only has his audience’s attention for less than three, floating hours.

“They have these ‘ah ha’ moments where they’re saying ‘I get that’ or ‘I never knew that,'” he said.

Who doesn’t want to experience that?

Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111

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