Every May for the last fourteen years Western Slope residents have gathered to float the Gunnison River in support of local watershed conservation. The Conservation Center’s Annual River Awareness Float Trip Fundraiser is one of Delta County’s most popular and well attended outdoor events – and this year the organizers are taking the event to the next level: The half-day river float will visit a previously unsafe potion of the river and end with a new tradition – a river festival.
The float will take place in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and will begin at the BLM Forks at PleasureParkand end at Gunnison River Farms in Austin. For the first time in decades boaters can safely float this stretch thanks to the Relief Ditch Diversion Dam Project completed by Gunnison Gorge Anglers this past winter. The project, which was funded in part by proceeds from last year’s float fundraiser, restored healthy flow, fish migration, and riparian habitat at the dam.
An afternoon river festival at Gunnison River Farms following the float the trip will feature food, music, a River Gear Silent Auction, watercraft demos, games, and other family-friendly activities. Outfitters from all over the state will float and demo top-of the line rafts and river gear.
Attendees of the float & festival will have a chance to not only play on the river, but also learn firsthand from conservation experts about exciting developments in local river stewardship.
Families and rafters of all levels are invited to attend the float & festival or come for only the festival. River Gear Silent Auction items at the festival will include rafts, paddles, fly rods, beginner fly fisherman gear packages, paco pads, dry bags, PFDs, camping gear, and much more. Proceeds from the event will support the Conservation Center’s river restoration projects in Delta County.
To register, go to www.theconservationcenter.org, or call Joanna at 970-527-5307 x 206 for more information.
Sponsors of the event include ACE-Hardware of Delta, Black Canyon Anglers, Coldwell Banker- Colorado Realty, Colorado Canyons Association, Colorado River District, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Conservation Lands Foundation, Delta County Federal Credit Union, Delta Tourism Board, Earthbound Web Hosting, First Colorado State Bank, High Country News, Kevin Parks – State Farm Insurance, and The Watch Newspapers.
Sponsors who will demo gear or have gear at the silent auction include Alpacka Rafts, Colorado Kayak Supply, C4 Waterman, Down River Equipment, Hog Island Boat Works, Gunnison River Pro, Hyside Whitewater Inflatables, Jack’s Plastic Welding, Kokatat, Liquid Logic, Native Fishing Boats, Northwest River Supply (NRS), Rocky Mountain Outdoor School, Scott’s Fly Rods, Sotar, RIGS Adventure Co., Watermaster Boats, Wind River Gear.
About the hosts
For over 35 years, the Western Slope Conservation Center has worked to build an aware and active community that protects, preserves and enhances our natural, human and economic environment. For more information go to www.theconservationcenter.org
Gunnison River Farms is a farming and recreational oasis that has been a working orchard for over 90 years. With sweeping views of ponds and rivers backed by red cliff walls, the farm blends into the dramatic surroundings of deep canyons and open farmland. For more information go to http://www.gunnisonriverfarms.com/