Arkansas River projects to improve recreation on river

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

Work is nearing completion on the Whitewater Kayak and Recreation Park-Canon City, which runs in the river channel along Centennial and Depot parks. A short distance downstream, between Ninth Street and Raynolds Bridge, a Trout Unlimited fish-habitat improvement project has been capped off with new informational signs detailing the benefits of “Trout Home Improvement.” In Salida, the fourth phase of the Salida Whitewater Park, featuring a new play hole and kayak features got under way this month and will be complete by the end of March. While the projects are aimed at providing thrills for two very different, sometimes conflicting user groups — kayakers and fishermen — they really are harmoniously helping make both Salida and Canon City Arkansas River corridors prime outdoor destinations.

“The whitewater park should help improve fish habitat because it will be pumping a lot of oxygen into the river, which will improve the bug habitat — that is insect life the fish need for food,” [Pueblo-based Southern Colorado Greenback Chapter of Trout Unlimited member Ted Sillox] said. “It really is a beautiful area.” Three Trout Unlimited chapters and the Colorado Division of Wildlife headed the Trout Home Improvement project which provided strategically placed boulders where brown trout can rest from the strong current, feed and reproduce on their own to maintain the population naturally. Bushes and vegetation planted along the banks are vital for shade for the fish and also support insect life. Sillox said Trout Unlimited members will be back this spring to conduct more plantings where some of the willows died. The members also helped with the informational signs that explain the benefits of the project…

Contractor Ted Seipel Construction’s Colorado Riverworks is on schedule to complete the $375,000 whitewater park by the end of March. The park, designed and engineered by Jason Carey of RiverRestoration.org, will provide exciting whitewater play holes for kayakers interested in executing spectacular stunts and surfing maneuvers…

A grand opening is planned when the park is complete, plus it will get a proper indoctrination during the June 25-26 Whitewater Festival, which will feature some surfing competitions for kayakers. The park will provide a whitewater thrill during high water summer months, but, in addition, the movement of water from upstream reservoirs to Pueblo Reservoir during the winter months will bring, “some very surfable waves all winter long,” Colon said.

More whitewater coverage here.

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