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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: January 14, 2020

Healthy Rivers Whitewater Park to See Changes This Winter

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Thanks to input from the community, Pitkin County will be making a few changes to the Healthy Rivers Whitewater Park in Basalt this winter. 

In 2019, Healthy Rivers sought public comment on the whitewater park experience through an extensive outreach campaign. Though many park users reported enjoying the wave features, the river board also heard from those who felt the features make the river difficult to navigate at high water.

“The goal of this winter’s work is to strike a better balance between the fun surfability of the waves and their high-water navigability. The end result will be wave features that are easier for river runners to bypass at high flows,” said Pitkin County Healthy Rivers Board Chair, Andre Wille. 

Healthy Rivers worked with consultants at River Restoration, the whitewater park’s original designers, to create plans for revising the wave features. Diggin’ It River Works, Inc. will construct the changes. 

The in-stream work is estimated to begin in mid-January and wrap-up by March 15th with streambank restoration finishing later this spring. Construction is permitted to occur Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7 am to 7 pm. 

in stream work to improve wave features

In-stream work like this during previous modifications will

be done during the construction window this winter. 


For safety reasons, the river channel from Fisherman’s Park through the project site will be closed to all public use for the duration of the instream work. The streambanks immediately adjacent to construction will also be closed to public access while work is underway.

The whitewater park’s success remains critical to maintaining Pitkin County’s Recreation In-Channel Diversion (RICD) water right that protects critical in-stream flows from being diverted out of the Roaring Fork River in the future.

According to Wille, “The key to maintaining the RICD water right is being able to prove the community enjoys the wave features. That’s why this fine-tuning is so important.”

Healthy Rivers will share construction progress through a series of video updates. The videos will be viewable online at pitkincountyrivers.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa MacDonald, healthyrivers@pitkincounty.com, 970-920-5191

Link to informational video: https://youtu.be/8Q1dRSkN8k4

Additional Photos:

In stream work to improve wave features

Surfing the wave



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