The town where legendary gunslinger Doc Holliday died, Glenwood Springs, is now shooting to add three more world-class whitewater parks on the Colorado River, to join its existing uber-wave down at the western portion of the city.
According to the Aspen Times, the City of Glenwood Springs has negotiated the last of several big obstacles to obtaining water rights for three potential new whitewater parks in the Colorado River, at Two Rivers Park, Horseshoe Bend and No Name.
Final approvals aren’t expected until late January, but the city’s water attorney, Mark Hamilton of Holland and Hart, recently told a state agency that general agreement in the water court case was at hand.
According to the story, the proposed water rights are for “boating, rafting, kayaking, tubing, floating, canoeing, paddling and all other non-motorized recreational uses.” The city made the crux move in its five-year journey Wednesday, when Aurora and Colorado Springs signed off on a “call reduction provision” in the city’s proposed water rights decree.
“This one is not an ordinary (Recreational In-Channel Diversion). It has its own complications, and overall it had become just a tricky, thorny, complicated project,” said Russ George, who represents the Colorado River basin at CWCB. The Colorado River District and the town of Gypsum also reportedly support the settlement in concept and are working on final approvals.
Under the settlement, Glenwood Springs has agreed to consult with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on the location, size, design and construction at the three prospective whitewater park sites, including giving Horseshoe Bend the lowest priority of the three locations because of bighorn sheep in the area.
“Horseshoe Bend kind of sits in third position for a variety of reasons,” said Jay Skinner, an instream flow specialist for CPW. “It certainly is our least favorite of the three sites.”
The Two Rivers Park location is just downstream from central Glenwood Springs, and just above a busy boat ramp at the park. Horseshoe Bend and No Name are not far upstream from downtown in Glenwood Canyon. They are on a Class II stretch of river below the Class III-to-Class IV Shoshone run.
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Editor’s note: Aspen Journalism covers rivers and water in collaboration with The Aspen Times, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and other Swift newspapers. More at http://www.aspenjournalism.org.