- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

KREMMLING, Colo. (AP) - The Colorado River is slated to get its second engineered kayaking park this spring.

The Gore Canyon Whitewater Park will be located where the Colorado emerges from the Gore Canyon and enters the meandering flats of the Pumphouse Recreation Area, The Steamboat Pilot & Today reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/13JC9KN ).

With the stretch boasting year-round flows, the new site will create a park-and-play venue usable from early spring through fall for Colorado paddlers.

The park also is integral to protecting future flows on the heavily diverted Colorado River.

Since 2010, river conservation group American Whitewater has worked with Grand County on the project.

With input from hundreds of volunteers, American Whitewater also has defined flow ranges that sustain good paddling opportunities along that section of the Colorado River.

“This project provides certainty for downstream water users, creates new opportunities for paddlers and anglers and complements many other river management actions currently being developed across the Colorado River Basin,” American Whitewater’s Colorado Director Nathan Fey said.

The Gore Canyon Whitewater Park is being built in association with Grand County’s Recreational In-Channel Diversion water right.

That water right, which was filed in 2010, will protect 2,500 cubic feet per second from being taken out of the river, consistent with Colorado Water Law. Similar to the one obtained by the city of Steamboat Springs for the Charlie’s Hole structure downtown on the Yampa River, the new water right for Grand County consists of a new in-channel “feature” that is required by state statute to control and measure the flow in the Colorado River at Pumphouse.

The feature will have engineer-designed boulders placed across the stream channel that will not be visible at normal flows and will allow for fish passage at all flow rates. It’s being built just upstream of the second Pumphouse boat ramp.

“By building this project and securing important water rights, our communities can enjoy long-term protections for our river and for its many uses,” Fey said.

More than 70,000 people visit the area each year.

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Information from: Steamboat Pilot & Today, http://steamboatpilot.com/

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