Whitewater Parks in Action—A Vision for Skowhegan

In June of 2017, Run of River Committee Campaign Director Kristina Cannon and Skowhegan Town Manager Christine Almand took a trip to Colorado to learn more about the economic and community impact of whitewater parks. They toured parks and met with local leaders and business owners in Golden, Buena Vista, Sheridan, and Denver, and they attended the FIBArk ("First in Boating the Arkansas") whitewater festival in Salida. Check out the two slideshows below to see photos from their trip and envision how Run of River will transform Skowhegan!

Welcome to Golden
First stop is Golden, Colo., the home of Clear Creek Whitewater Park, built in 1998.
Clear Creek Whitewater Park
The whitewater park has been essential in Golden's revitalization.
Caution, High Water
During spring thaws the water can get too high for swimmers and tubers—boaters only.
Path to Economic Development
The whitewater park, recreational trails and parks, and streetscape improvements all led to increased economic development and made Golden the bustling city it is today.
Slalom Course
Poles installed along the bank made for easy course setup.
Privacy, Please
Golden offers changing rooms along the whitewater park for river users.
River Access Made Easy
Clear Creek Whitewater Park provides great access to the features in the water—and ample viewing locations for spectators.
Information Available to All
Interpretive signage was commonplace at each whitewater park.
Trail Art
Artwork adorns trails along the Clear Creek Whitewater Park in Golden, Colo.
Golden Community Center
This community center park and playground is adjacent to the whitewater park.
History as Asset
Historical assets line the creek in Golden, including the Clear Creek History Park that features an old homestead, schoolhouse, and chicken coop.
Riverside Water Slide
This public water slide provides a different kind of fun for swimmers.
Revitalization Results
These two buildings are less than 10 years old and are the result of town revitalization spurred by the whitewater park.
Next Stop
Buena Vista!
Changing Facility
The Buena Vista River Park included restrooms, changing facilities, and ample parking.
From Town Dump to Town Park
In the 1980s this site was the town dump. Today it boasts a beautiful river park with whitewater features and tons of parks, fields, and trails.
Buena Vista Boat Launch
Buena Vista's whitewater park has expanded to allow increased access to the river and more opportunities for multiple uses.
What a Whitewater Feature Looks Like
This is a great view of a feature in Buena Vista—it was early, so boaters hadn't arrived yet.
Downriver Views
A view of the whitewater park and Whipple Bridge.
Something for Everyone
A stand-up paddle boarder makes their way to a feature.
Rafting the Arkansas
Rafting on the Arkansas River in Buena Vista is very popular and boasts more than a dozen outfitters.
Outdoor Events
This outdoor event space overlooks the river park in Buena Vista. It features live music and a "beach" bar during evenings in the summer.
Whipple Bridge
Whipple Bridge connects users to a huge trail network on the other side of the Arkansas River.
River Access
In addition to an ADA boat ramp, the river park in Buena Vista includes multiple staircases for river access.
Riverside Trails
Earl Richmond, a local leader and business owner in Buena Vista, showed Kristina and Christine around the park and its well-maintained trails. Thanks, Earl!
Views from the Trail
A quick hike before lunch provided views of the mountains, park facilities, and public spaces.
Interpretive Signage
Trails that run along the river include informational signage for users.
Proven Growth
Since the creation of the Buena Vista River Park, South Main, a development adjacent to the park, has sprung up. New houses and businesses including this hotel—the Surf Chateau—now overlook the park...
The Surf Chateau
... and what an overlook it is!
Endless Opportunities
The Surf Chateau is adding on to its property. The new addition will include a restaurant, bar, and 200-person event and wedding venue.
South Main
Several businesses line the green in South Main, including retail and rental shops and the Eddyline Brew Pub.
ATVs and Food Trucks
You can rent watercraft and ATVs in Buena Vista. And of course, there's always room for a food truck.
Riverside Homes
South Main features beautiful houses situated close together, with lots of green space and parks to keep families entertained.
From Boating to Skating
Locals and visitors alike enjoy this great skate park located in South Main.
Boulder Garden
A boulder garden in South Main offers a dynamic retreat.
Welcome to Salida
On June 15, 2017, Kristina and Christine headed south to Salida, Colo., for the FIBArk Festival!
National Destination
FIBArk includes numerous whitewater events, and participants and spectators come from all over the country.
Drawing a Crowd
The turnout for the annual FIBArk Festival is incredible.
SUP Cross
A relatively new event, the SUP Cross, had competitors racing each other downstream while maneuvering around buoys and gates—on stand-up paddle boards!
SUP Racing
The last obstacle—good for all kinds of whitewater enthusiasts.

Pre-Race Parade
On Saturday morning during the FIBArk Festival, Salida hosted a fantastic parade. Several of the floats would participate in the Hooligan Race later that afternoon.
Rock and Float
KISS made an appearance on and off the water.
Hooligan Race
Here they go into the final feature!
Hitting the Feature
Recognize these guys? They rocked the Hooligan Race.
Spectators Galore
The FIBArk festival drew lots of spectators, all eating, drinking, and relaxing on the river.
Freestyle Whitewater Kayaking
The next event for FIBArk was the freestyle whitewater kayaking competition.
A Riverbank with a View
Paved paths and riverscapes made event spectating easy and accessible to everyone.
Slalom Course Prep
Kayakers scout the upcoming slalom course.
Raft Rodeo
In the Raft Rodeo competition, rafts enter the features with the intent of flipping over—many were successful!
Surf Practice
River features allow surfers to practice when the ocean is too far away.
Dinner on the Water
The Boat House, a riverside restaurant and bar, just opened this popular patio that extends out over the river. This business has increased sales more than six times since the opening of the whitewater park!
Community Place
Riverside Park provided a great location for live music, a carnival, and many vendors to sell their wares.
A New Industry
Salida boasts many rental shops as a result of the park. One business owner noted that Salida's revitalization began the day they put the first whitewater feature in the river.
Downtown Retail
The downtown district of Salida features many retail shops.
Bike around Town
Bicycling is the preferred mode of transportation in Salida.
Uphill Race
In addition to water competitions, FIBArk included a foot race up a huge hill!
Ready, Set, Go!
Runners raced up this hill and then back down! The winner completed the course in just over 10 minutes—impressive!
Rafting the Arkansas
Kristina and Christine's fantastic host, Jason Lapointe, took them for a raft ride down the Arkansas River just south of the whitewater park. A huge thank you to Jason!
Concerts in the Park
Evening concerts drew crowds to the Riverside Park every night during FIBArk.
Off to Sheridan
Next stop: River Run Park in Sheridan, Colo.
River Run Park
River Run Park has two features, with a couple more slated for future construction.
Surf's Up
Surfers practice their skills on one of the park's features.
A Wave for Everyone
Kayakers enjoy large eddies while taking turns on a downstream feature.
Sheridan to Denver
Trails run along both sides of the river, extending more than 12 miles to Denver.
A Shady Spot
River Run Park features a bath house and changing rooms as well as an outdoor event space, shown here.
Multi-Use Trails
The multi-use trails are a favorite for bikers.
Confluence Park
Final stop: Confluence Park in Denver.
Downtown Trail Network
Trails line the banks of the Cherry Creek in downtown Denver, leading to Confluence Park.
Riverside Improvements
Built in the 1990s, this park is currently undergoing shoreline improvements to make the river more accessible.
Although part of the park is undergoing upgrades, residents still find it a relaxing place to lounge.
Fun in the Rapids
Someone enjoys a ride down through the rapids on an inner tube.
Beyond the City
Denver's extensive trail system extends significantly beyond the city itself.