New bill will prevent creation of kayak parks in Colorado

DenverPost.com – LOCAL NEWS
Development of new white-water parks in Colorado could be derailed by legislation that’s slated for a Senate vote next week, kayakers, town officials and water attorneys say.
“The bill, as drafted, is going to make recreational in-channel diversions a second-rate water right that is essentially worthless,” said Ron Wolfe, mayor of the ski resort town of Avon, which applied for a park water right in December.

Currently, 15 Colorado communities have white-water parks. The new legislation is not expected to affect them.

The parks in Vail, Steamboat Springs and Golden generated a total of $11 million in revenues last year, according to economic-impact studies.

Eagle County and Durango also are contemplating park projects. The Durango park would be the city’s second.

“I think it’s fair to say we are being much more cautious and conservative about pursuing a water right because of this legislation,” said Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi.