Fort Collins May Be Getting a Whitewater Play Park
Fort Collins may be getting its own whitewater play park.
Fund raising efforts have begun, and the rest of the process could soon follow.
The park would be located just east of College Avenue on the Cache la Poudre River.
The first rumblings of a whitewater park for Fort Collins started more than a decade ago. The idea was bandied about for several Northern Colorado towns. I heard Laporte might do it. Some people in Fort Collins really wanted one.
Meanwhile, Lyons went ahead with it, and people love the series of holes that are in Meadow Park. It’s one of our favorite spots to stop on local motorcycle rides in the heat of the summer. We don’t even need boats to enjoy their park. We just hop off the bike, strip down to our suits, and head to the St. Vrain river. The high rocky mesas are just far enough away for the summer sun to soak the whole scene in in midday rays. Hole after hole holds happy swimmers, boaters and tubers. Further upstream is a great jumping rock. It’s awesome!
Fort Collins has the opportunity to do as well or better than Lyons with the new water park. The Poudre is slightly bigger than the St. Vrain, and more water means more excitement. There is already a nice pull off from Poudre Trail where they are planning the park. Right now it overlooks an abandoned water diversion structure where some people swim and fish. I don’t because I think it looks pretty gnarly.
When the river is high, the spillway below rages with water, and it drops down a pretty respectable slope before it starts to flatten out underneath the BNSF railroad tracks. That amount of water and a drop in elevation provides so much potential for a great water park. With terraced access to the river, the park will appeal to boaters and non boaters alike.
Just beyond the tracks is a great stretch of the river that is near the Northside Skate Park. Skaters go down there in the summer to jump in and cool off. The skate park shares a parking lot with Northside Aztlan Community Center. At the corner of College and Willow lies the Poudre River Center for the Arts and the Center for Fine Art Photography.
The river meanders slowly all the way to Gustav Swanson Natural Area, and then Linden St. Not 500 yards away lies New Belgium Brewing. Continuing further down the river, which is easy because the Poudre Trail traces all this, you come to E. Lincoln Ave, and Odell Brewing, the future site of Woodward, and the Fort Collins Brewery. Further down are Funkwerks, and other craft brews along the Fort Collins beer belt.
Upstream from the proposed Whitewater Play Park is the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Beyond that is Lee Martinez Park, and across the river from that is Legacy Park.
Poudre Trail can take you right to Mason St. into Old Town. With MAX rapid transit, people from all over Fort Collins could be dropped right near the new Fort Collins whitewater park.
What I’m getting at is that the area of this proposed water park is surrounded by some of Fort Collins best parks, institutions, businesses and attractions. It’s in the midst of things we’d tell people from out of town already, so it will fit perfectly.