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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

PitCo, Basalt to consider whitewater park streamside projects

Courtesy of Bluegreen Aspen

On Tuesday, Pitkin County commissioners and Basalt town council members will hear an update on plans to upgrade the areas surrounding the whitewater park.

Work on the wave structures in Basalt’s whitewater park wrapped up over the winter. Contractors raised the height of the pool between the two man-made waves, allowing boaters to flow more smoothly through the park. But Pitkin County attorney John Ely said there’s still a lot to do to make the park a true community amenity.

The goal now is to improve streamside access to public lands near the whitewater park. Elected officials from Basalt and Pitkin County will hear about extensive plans to build trails that would connect Fisherman’s park to more public property downstream. It could involve narrowing Two Rivers Road to make room for nature play areas for kids and observation decks near the whitewater park.

The purpose of the park, Ely said, is to protect the in-stream flow of the Roaring Fork. The county has a recreational in-channel water right, which could eventually allow it to call water in drought years.


“This would be the kind of the year that would typically be benefited from the water right,” he said.

Ely said drawing more people to the whitewater park could ensure the validity of the county’s water right.

The discussion about streamside improvements starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Basalt town hall.


Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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