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Whitewater parks make most of our river assets

Spring runoff isn’t far away. It’s a good time for river towns to contemplate the concept of whitewater parks.

Both Carbondale and Glenwood Springs kayak enthusiasts have broached the idea with their respective river commissions. We hope the towns will pursue it with the same fervor as paddlers surfing a standing wave.

Other Colorado towns, including Salida, Durango and Golden, already boast whitewater parks, and there’s no reason why Glenwood Springs and Carbondale shouldn’t as well. We live along good floating rivers and should take full advantage of them.



Whitewater parks offer slalom courses and river play spots, including holes, eddies and pourovers. While the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers naturally have these features, parks concentrate them in one place, further enhancing the fun.

Some might say that Glenwood Springs hardly needs to attract more boaters, given the already vigorous recreational use of its rivers.



But a whitewater park isn’t for boaters alone. It would entertain onlookers from the riverbank or a bridge. If you’ve enjoyed watching anglers fish the enhanced pools from the pedestrian bridge in Silverthorne, you get the picture.

The parks could also host competitive events to further boost tourism.

Whitewater parks would require some financial investment by communities, but the payoff could be great. And Great Outdoors Colorado grants could be tapped to help out.

A few decades ago, bike paths were anomalies in many communities. Today, they’re commonplace and hugely popular. Odds are, the same will be said someday about whitewater parks in river-based communities.

Let’s hope Glenwood Springs and Carbondale ride this wave sooner rather than later.

– Dennis Webb, News Editor


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