The Buena Vista Whitewater Park in Colorado
just received an incredible spring cleaning and tune up. Thanks to Mike Harvey of Recreation Engineering and Planning aka http://www.wwparks.com/
, the town of Buena Vista, http://www.buenavistaco.gov/
and Chaffee County, http://www.chaffeecounty.org/ we were able to work on all 4 in stream features last week
. The result is much improved hydraulic performance for boaters, cleaner lines, and an over all safer and more fun environment for all.
The Arkansas River has been dishing out flows this week of 600-700 cfs, which is not the norm, but has make for some great play boating in the improved park. People are starting to search for their gear and hit the water for some incredibly fun, but cold, sessions.
To get the Buena Vista River Park is easy. http://www.coloradokayak.com/CKS-Locations_2
Come to Buena Vista from Highway 24 to the only stop light. Turn east onto E Main St and take that road till it ends at the River Park. There is great parking, changing rooms, boat ramps, trails and access all up and down the west side of the river.
Below is a short update on each of the four main features. We recommend a dry top pogies
and a head heater or skull cap
. With this gear, and a sunny day, you will have a blast and be well ahead of the play boating curve over your peers.
All featured photos of each of these features are from the past 2 days and show the new and improved feature at current water levels.
The Top Hole or Uptown Hole
. This is the original wave/hole that was constructed in 2002. It is located just upstream of the Whipple or Midland Trail Bridge at the end of E. Main St. The boat ramp provides easy access to large eddies and is a popular rafting put in and take out. Improvements include more rock added to the river left wing to enhance the eddy on that side. Also rock material was added to decrease erosion in the center low flow areas of the feature. Result: an awesome river wide wave that is dynamic and powerful for any move you want to do.
Looking downstream from the bridge over the top hole you can just barely see the 2nd and 3rd features.
Hole # 2 or Midtown.
This friendly surfer is located 1/4 mile downstream of the Uptown Hole and is accessed several ways. The best is to stay in your boat and float down some class II water to it. You can also hike down a wide trail or park you car in front on the Buena Vista Community Center and walk down the stairs to the river. It is right there. Improvements include adding rock to both wings to concentrate more water to the center. Result; deeper wave/hole, with more energy and more retentive. Still very friendly with a gigantic recovery pool. This has quickly become the crowd favorite with easy cartwheels, free wheels and low water looping potential.
Town Feature or Pocket Wave
. A few hundred yards down from the Midtown feature you will notice two river wings that jet into the current from both river banks. These wings help accelerate the water to the center of the river, where a large island of rock is located creating a fun foam pile for surfing, spinning and cart wheeling. Improvements: River bed depth altered to make this pocket wave steeper at higher flows. Results: More fun at higher flows. This feature is great to build your play boating skills because it is not super easy to get onto. You have to ferry out to it and be precise with your edge control to stay on. It may be a little hard for some, but if you use it, you will become a better boater overall.
Bottom Wave or Downtown Hole.
This hole is located at the South Main Town Square and is accessible by boat from the Uptown or Midtown features, by foot on the river trail, or by car if you drive into the South Main Neighborhood off of E Main St. This was the one that every paddler talked about. Fun at low levels, but hard and too retentive above 700 cfs. Improvements: lower pool height was raised and eddy service improved. Result: The feature literally went from scary to docile the day of the improvements. It is very user friendly now and soft and gentle. As of spring flows, the bottom hole has turned into the “beginner spot” for easy surfing spinning and cart wheeling. It is much deeper and has a much larger recovery zone down stream.
Come on down, we hope to see you all here in Buena Vista. The park is ready for you all to enjoy. Our trails are drying out fast, so bring your bike and or hiking shoes. Plus the hot springs http://www.cottonwood-hot-springs.com/reservat.htm
here will keep you warm after a long day of cold play boating this spring.