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Projects Mean Better Floating, Fishing
Author: Tracy Harmon Newspaper: The Pueblo Chieftain URL:
Projects Mean Better Floating, Fishing
Tracy Harmon
The Pueblo Chieftain

CANON CITY Whitewater enthusiasts and anglers alike will have something to cheer about this spring, thanks to winter work being conducted throughout the Arkansas River corridor.

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 will be very exciting for kayakers, but it also will improve the trout habitat," said Will Colon, WKRP-Canon City organizer. "There is a lot going on down there." Pueblo-based Southern Colorado Greenback Chapter of Trout Unlimited member Ted Sillox agrees.

"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," 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.

"Southern Colorado Greenback chapter paid for the three bases about $1,000. Pueblo Community college's student welding program constructed the bases," Sillox said.

The Canon City Recreation and Park District paid for the powder coating of the bases and installed them, while the Division of Wildlife paid for the informational panels recently installed on the bases.

"There was a whole bunch of different groups involved in the project and it is nice to see a lot of people involved," Sillox said.

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, will provide exciting whitewater play holes for kayakers interested in executing spectacular stunts and surfing maneuvers.

"Everything is moving along very nicely, and what is really neat about it is there are always people standing on the bridges watching the work. Just wait until we get some kayakers in there, it is going to be very exciting to watch," Colon said.

As part of the project, some on-bank natural sandstone seating will be constructed, in addition to the two pedestrian bridges that flank the project and picnic tables stationed along the river.

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.
Member comments
by: fishhooker on 3/8/2010 9:47:00 AM
The wkrp in Canon is a joke! The CC rec dist and dow can't take care of the pathfinder fishing pond (built with taking children fishing as a goal). That pond is a nasty scum filled cesspool. Too bad they are going to disrupt the Ark river now too.
by: IceFishingFool on 3/8/2010 10:37:00 AM
What does the Pathfinder pond need to be corrected ?
by: fishhooker on 3/8/2010 5:13:00 PM
There is no water inflow or outflow, the water level is determined by the water table in the river. I'm not suggesting it to be openly connected to the river, but there has to be a better way to control this. It is covered with scum, floating on the top and lining the bottom. Then the politics of how it was created. (not fishing related so I won't get into that here) The parking is terrible, and CC rec is allowing a rafting company access there. The road going into it is one lane, should be real fun when a rafting bus comes thru there. My tax dollars helped pay for it and I was really not happy with the final product they created.