When I last left you we were celebrating the 2017 Colorado River cleanup and had just attended the Celebratory BBQ sponsored by Amec Foster Wheeler of Grand Junction. You had Just enjoyed one of the Palisade Peaches that Bob Richardson had brought and won one of the many Prizes that were contributed. One of them could have been from Pete and Monica Atkinson at Whitewater West. You may have shared a story with Dennis Adams or many other people that have made this event possible for the last 13 years. BoB and Monica have played essential roles in organizing the Colorado River Cleanup since it's inception.
The W.A.T.E.R. Club who is the host of the River Cleanup has been around since 1983 and has played a key role for the paddling community in the Grand Valley.
The Western Association To Enjoy Rivers began as a cooperative venture between Beaver Creek Sports (now closed) on North Avenue in Grand Junction and local kayakers who wanted to advance paddlesports through education of enthusiasts and dialogue with government agencies who manage to local rivers.
Over the years the club kept members informed of river permit regulations and use statistics with an annual meeting attended by representatives of the BLM and NPS, however that information is now available online.Some of the accomplishments of the club include:
Construction of a changing facility at the Westwater ranger station.
Bringing to light illegal mining activities in Westwater Canyon, launching Friends of Westwater who lobbied successfully to close down the operation.
Exposing misuse of river permit fees in Dinosaur National Monument through FOIA.
Raised over $80,000 to design a whitewater park at Price-Stubb, leading to the formation of Grand Valley River Park, a 501(c)3 organization which was ultimately unsuccessful despite raising $1.3 million dollars in pledged funds.
Sponsored a youth “Blue Herons” kayak racing team.
Organized river safety workshops for family participation and produced a PSA video on the importance of life jackets (PFD – Personal Flotation Device).
Engaged in un-advertised river cleanup for many years before becoming an “official” event in conjunction with civic entities (Mesa County, Town of Palisade, City of Grand Junction, City of Fruita) and business sponsors.
As We celebrate this Years CRC we look back and also celebrate the history of this great community effort and what the WATER club has done for the paddlers of the Grand Valley. As we look back at the many accomplishments of this great organization we also look forward towards the future and a continued legacy of developing the paddling community and fostering a sense of stewardship for the river.
The 14th annual CRC that happens the first weekend of August each year is scheduled for Saturday August 4th 2018. The 14th annual CRC will be hosted by the Grand Valley Paddling Club. The GVPC has gained the confidence and approval of WATER and will work on developing the CRC and promoting stewardship and paddling activities throughout and around the Grand Valley.
The GVPC Can only hope to make as much of a difference in the the community as WATER has. With the Support of the people that have been contributing for years and the enthusiasm that comes with forming new relationships We believe that great things can be accomplished and that there is considerable potential for the future of the paddling community in the Grand Valley.
I encourage you to learn more about the GVPC and consider joining the club. Membership Dues help support the Colorado River Cleanup and other initiatives addressing river stewardship, safety and access for the Grand Valley.
Photo Credit: Jesse Selywn