- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - The Animas River in southwest Colorado is so jammed with paddlers that the city of Durango is planning to recruit volunteer “river ambassadors” to reduce conflicts.

City officials hope the ambassadors help those in need and act as liaisons between paddlers and authorities, The Durango Herald reported Tuesday (https://bit.ly/1xx8HUX ).

“It will be a good program to get more presence on the river itself,” Durango Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz said.

Ambassadors would be certified to perform CPR and first aid to paddlers. They also would educate river users about staying in their vessels because walking along the shore is considered trespassing. The public is permitted to be on the water.

Ambassadors would call park rangers and police to handle any disorderly conduct.

The area between Oxbow Park and 33rd Street has been contentious because people often trespassed across private property to get to the river.

The river ambassador program is a follow-up to a campaign the city launched when it started managing Oxbow Park this year to educate paddlers that much of the property along the river is private.

The city will start recruiting experienced paddlers next spring who can commit to four-hour volunteer shifts.

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Information from: Durango Herald, https://www.durangoherald.com


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