Kayak park for Basalt?

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Recreational In Channel Diversions are one way to help keep water in streams. The increased flows also mitigate against storage projects upstream from the RICD due to the need to deliver water at the point of the RICD instead of storing it. Steamboat Springs’ RICD has been cited as having this effect.

Here’s a report on efforts by Pitkin County to back a new kayak park in Basalt from Brent Gardner-Smith writing for the Aspen Daily News. From the article:

Ely has been developing the Basalt kayak park idea for months and says so far he has received positive feedback from “individuals in the kayak and rafting communities, fishermen, representatives of CDOT, officials from the town of Basalt, and members of the consulting firm that worked on the Basalt River Master Plan.” “Although the idea of a river park began as a vehicle for enhancing and improving the environmental condition of this particular reach of the Roaring Fork, it became readily apparent that such a recreational resource would be highly prized, widely accepted and utilized by a great number of kayakers and rafters in the mid-valley area,” Ely wrote in a memo to Town Council…

“The concept of a river park or kayak course began as a vehicle with which to enhance stream flows on this reach of the Roaring Fork River, to enhance the natural riparian habitat that could develop in this area and to stimulate active recreation and use of real property already owned by Pitkin County in this area,” Ely wrote. Pitkin County paid for a preliminary feasibility study by The McLaughlin Group, which found that flows in that stretch of the Fork were generally high enough to create play waves for kayaks, but that they would be much smaller than the monster kayak wave recently built in the Colorado River in West Glenwood Springs…

With funding from Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, Ely has also hired Jason Carey of River Restoration — who created the Glenwood wave — to do a preliminary conceptual design for the Basalt whitewater park. Carey’s design includes a sidewalk and parallel parking spaces between Two Rivers Road and the river, as well as accessible multi-level overlooks and stairs leading down to the river. In the river channel itself there would be two “whitewater structures” and two groupings of “habitat boulders” at either end of the whitewater park.

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