Rau: Reflections of teamwork from the Colorado River
Grand County Trails
Time on the river. No phones. No alarms. No madhouse — unless you happen to be at one of the Pumphouse put-ins on the Colorado River on a Saturday morning. They’re all jammed with a line of boats waiting to get on the river, some passengers for the first time, others old river hands.
Your parking fees have been put to good use with the Bureau of Land Management improving facilities and boat ramps and adding parking. But the improvements still have a hard time keeping up with the demand as more and more people are loving our Colorado River to death.
This year the bountiful snow has not disappointed the water worshipers. In fact, it’s just like the old times. And the later snows have mellowed the runoff so water levels have been spread out and remained higher than normal all summer.
Last weekend we floated from Pumphouse to State Bridge with one overnight. Our 16-footer was the main gear boat and the 13-footer was a paddleboat with some drybags in the back bilge.
Teamwork is the key in a paddleboat where everyone is needed to paddle following a captain’s orders. If someone fails to do their part, you can run into rocks or the shore. The camaraderie developed between the paddlers can be awesome, and this was no exception.
The camaraderie has not been lost on the East Grand School system either. People can learn to work together. That same principal has been applied when the high school has its sophomore river trip for a day in the fall and the junior river trip for almost a week in the spring each year for the last 44 years or so.
The paddlers are students, some brand new to the river and some rafting since they were little kids. Teachers, school alumni and volunteers supervise and teach the ways of the river in class sessions for weeks prior to the trip and while on the trip.
On Wednesday, we helped captain paddleboats with most of the high school staff joining together in a team-building river program under the new principal, Cindy Rimmer. It was a fantastic trip with many of them facing their fears and coming together as a team.
That same teamwork is needed to conserve water in the community. We are talking about the water we drink, shower and clean with, and use to water our gardens. In Colorado, our water comes primarily from our rivers. But we are all too aware of the diversions that ship our water to the East Slope, current changes in climate, and the masses of people moving to the Front Range demanding more and more water from a river that is already over-allocated.
The most important factor, however, is the individual choices we make about our own water uses. Do you run the water constantly while brushing your teeth? Do you run water on full while rinsing dishes or cleaning vegetables? Do you water your bluegrass lawn in the middle of a hot sunny day? Whatever your preferences, visit the Headwaters River Journey at the Headwaters Center in Fraser.
Housed in the country’s only off-the-power-grid exhibit space, the Journey encourages everyone to question what they are doing personally to maintain our rivers, to conserve our water, and to preserve the habitat of so many fish and other aquatic creatures and plants. The exhibit is state-of-the-art and so worthwhile.
Please, help conserve our water. It takes all of us to work together to make a difference. You too can be the change.
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