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Clear Creek Canyon Spring 2021 Update
Several projects are underway this spring in Clear Creek Canyon that will have an impact to boaters recreating in the Canyon this runoff season. Please read the following and be aware.
Canyon Mouth to Tunnel 1 (Peaks to Plains Trail Segment 1)
This project has been ongoing since 2019 and should be wrapping up in June. There are no restrictions to boating through this segment, but you will find that there is no boater access from the pullout above Tunnel 1 into Golden. We will have to use the Golden Whitewater Park as a take out, or you could take out here and walk back up to the pull out above Screaming Quarter Mile or just take out above SQM.
Photo: Pullout above Tunnel 1 (Photo courtesy of Steve Dougherty)
Clear Creek Canyon from I-70 (Kermit’s) to Highway 119
This project will impact access from Kermit’s down to 119 from April 5, 2021 into June (exact completion date has not been determined). The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin removing and replacing all existing tunnel lighting for Tunnels 1-3, 5, and 6 along US 6 Clear Creek Canyon between the intersection of CO 93 and CO 58 to Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs. The project will modernize the lighting in all five tunnels by replacing existing lighting with new LED tunnel lights, installing lane traffic control signals at the tunnel portals, and other infrastructure updates. The new lighting in the tunnels will improve safety and visibility in Clear Creek Canyon and will be more energy efficient. The work will be completed in two phases in Spring 2021 and Fall 2021, with a summer project shutdown to accommodate seasonal motorists. Overnight full closures will be necessary to complete this work. The full closures will take place on Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am, and Monday through Thursday nights from 4:00 pm to 4:00 am along US 6 between I-70 and CO 119. Phase 2 will be scheduled for the fall and should not affect kayaking, but it will close off access to Clear Creek Canyon during the time work is being performed.
Clear Creek Canyon between Tunnels 5 and 6
Clear Creek County Open Space, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and Contractor partner, CEI, will continue work on the Peaks to Plains Trail project between Tunnels 5 and 6. This project consists of the construction of a 1000-foot-long concrete trail supported by various walls and structures. A project fact sheet indicates impacts to Clear Creek that could restrict kayaking or other water sports in the area. A phone call with the project media consultant, Circuit Media, clarified that navigating through this stretch of Clear Creek should be doable, but boaters will need to stay along the north shoreline to avoid heavy equipment and construction activity taking place along the south shoreline. Signs will be placed in the area indicating any restrictions and warnings to water recreationists.
Urgent: Help Protect Browns Canyon and the Arkansas Valley
From our friends at American Whitewater:
It’s hard to imagine what it would be like if up to 10 trains full of heavy crude oil and hazardous chemicals were rumbling by while paddling the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon National Monument and the entire upper Arkansas River. It would, without question, change the experience in negative ways, including opening up the opportunity for the major disturbances associated with any kind of derailment and spill of oil into the river. We need your help today to protect this incredible place. This past New Year’s Eve, Colorado Midland and Pacific Railway filed a notice of exemption for lease and operations of the Tennessee Pass line that runs through the Arkansas Valley to Parkdale. You have two options to make your voice heard. We have created a sign on letter to be submitted along with American Whitewater's technical comments. However, if you’ve got the time to go the extra mile, we’ve included detailed directions here to submit your own filing directly to the Surface Transportation Board. Comments are due by January 22 - please take action today!
UPDATE: Oro Vista Mining Proposal Near Numbers Put In
Good news! The US Forest Service (USFS) announced on September 28, 2020 that the proponent of the Oro Vista Mine has withdrawn the proposal to explore for and mine placer gold on the Arkansas River. Specifically, the proposal involved drilling hand-augured test holes and dredging with a 4-inch (intake) suction dredge. This proposal is no longer under consideration by the Forest Service and has been removed from the Status of Proposed Actions (SOPA). If a new proposal is submitted in the future, it will be analyzed as a new project. Your comments matter and we appreciate everyone who took the time to write to the Forest Service to express their opinions on the project!
To see the comment letter submitted by CW, click here.
American Whitewater's Colorado Policy Pathways
Here in Colorado, our beautiful, beloved rivers feed our communities, our economies, and our families. We know that smart, collaborative approaches to water policy are the key to protecting and restoring our rivers. Our new report, Colorado Policy Pathways lays out our vision for our state's future, a future we will build with you, our members. Take a look and let us know what you think!