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The original item was published from 3/6/2019 7:30:37 AM to 6/15/2019 12:00:03 AM.

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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: March 6, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Pitkin County Receives $350,000 GOCO Grant for Healthy Rivers Whitewater Park


Contact:   Rosemary Dempsey, 303-226-4530,    

                 Andre Wille - Chair, Healthy Rivers Board -  



Today the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded Pitkin County a $350,000 Local Park and Outdoor Recreation (LPOR) grant for enhancements to its Healthy Rivers Whitewater Park.

Pitkin County will use its GOCO funding to provide safe and improved access to Pitkin County’s Healthy Rivers Whitewater Park in the area of the whitewater wave features installed in 2017. The wave features are located in the Roaring Fork River, approximately one-quarter mile upstream from its confluence with the Frying Pan River. The wave features provide a less challenging whitewater recreation option compared to the flows of the Colorado River.

Currently, however, heavily vegetated areas along the riverbank and changing water levels make access to the park difficult. In an effort to engage multiple recreation users, Pitkin County, in partnership with the Town of Basalt, will use the GOCO grant to create emergency access routes, river-viewing platforms, an elevated boardwalk to encourage exploration and education, and a raised pedestrian table crossing. Additional improvements include restrooms and changing rooms to accommodate increased demand and park usage.

 Through the improvements, the project organizers hope to encourage pedestrians, river users, educational organizations, and diverse recreational users to utilize the site to its maximum potential.

Designs carefully considered how to provide greater access to the river while preserving the surrounding natural environment. This planned approach will create riverbank stabilization and protection; control erosion by creating designated walkways; establish buffer zones for viewing; and foster healthier, safer interaction with the native habitat.

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Pitkin County Commissioners were among the first to experience the Healthy Rivers

Whitewater Park in Basalt when it was dedicated in June 2017.

"For many years, numerous Basalt residents have had a dream to enhance the degraded segment of the Roaring Fork River as it enters town," said Chair of the Pitkin County Healthy Rivers Board, Andre Wille. "Over 20 years ago, a master plan was developed to explore the possibilities of better connecting the community with the river and With the recent GOCO grant award for improvements along the river at the whitewater park, the dream of the Basalt community embracing our river and the lands around it will begin to come to fruition. This project is a win for both the river health and community health," Wille said. 

To date, GOCO has invested $8.6 million in projects in Pitkin County and has conserved more than 4,400 acres of land there. GOCO funding has supported Wapiti Ridge Mountain Park, Crystal Valley Trail, Snowmass Village Community Park, North Star observation platforms, and Moore Athletic Fields, among other projects.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,200 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit for more information.

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