Letter: Glenwood water move applauded
”Surf Colorado” has been the mantra of river runners since the early 1990s. Though we’re 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean, Colorado’s rivers provide a terrific chance to ride the waves on rafts, kayaks and paddleboards, with spectacular mountain backdrops. Thanks to a number of cities in Colorado, surfing Colorado is here to stay.
2015 turned into a banner year for floating/riding/surfing Colorado’s rivers and streams. After a worryingly dry winter, April, May and June were — in most places — way above average with rain and snow, making for big spring runoff. It’s been a good year for local river communities, too. These towns have been reaping the financial rewards of boaters visiting town, buying food and gear, and staying in local lodging.
Many cities realize they can’t take these flows for granted. They realize there is a need to protect rivers for the many benefits they provide. On just the Western Slope of Colorado, river-related recreation contributes $9 billion each year to local economies and provides 80,000 jobs.
More than 20 wise local governments have secured water rights to protect the future of local boating. For example, Durango is protecting the Animas River, Steamboat Springs has water rights for the Yampa, and the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District protects, not surprisingly, the Gunnison River. Now there is also a water rights application working its way through the Colorado Water Conservation Board administrative proceedings to protect flows on the Colorado River, right in Glenwood Springs.
We want to applaud Glenwood Springs for seizing the day — to protect flows for this vibrant part of the local recreation economy, including annual river festivals. The Colorado River as it runs through Glenwood Canyon is one of the most memorable places anywhere, and 60,000 rafters each year get to experience this rich Colorado experience. I’m glad we’re protecting it for the future.
Dr. Chris Tonozzi
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