Arkansas River rafters can now float with no barriers

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Completed Arkansas River Diversion. (Credit: Aurora Water and Colorado Springs Utilities)

GRANITE, Colo. (KDVR) – The Arkansas River is reconnected between Leadville to Cañon City, allowing rafters to float without portaging, Colorado Springs Utilities and Aurora Water announced on Thursday.

The Arkansas River Diversion Project begins just below Granite and transforms the river, allowing trout to go upstream and boaters to move down the previously un-navigable stretch of the river.

“It’s a win for water utilities and their customers because it retains a vital Homestake system diversion and flood control point – it’s a win for rafters and recreators because the boat chute makes that area navigable – and it’s a win for the environment because brown and rainbow trout can now spawn upstream using the fish passage,” stated Keith Riley, Colorado Springs’ general manager of Operations.

The Arkansas River Diversion is part of the Homestake Project, which brings Eagle River Basin water from the Holy Cross Wilderness to the Arkansas River Basin, through the Homestake, Turquoise and Twin Lakes reservoirs for delivery of water to Colorado Springs and Aurora utilities officials say.

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