Durango Whitewater Park expected to open mid-April

Posted at: 04/07/2014 5:44 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It's not often you see heavy machinery in the river, but today there are track hoes and front end loaders back and forth in the water.

They have been working since November on Durango's Whitewater Park.

"We had a park here many years ago, started in the late 1980s. It was not grouted in so it was not stable. Any time we had a high flow, when you had a rock or a big tree come down the river it would bust out a structure," Cathy Metz, director of Durango Parks and Recreation said.  

In addition to permanent put-in and take-out points for floating sports, the park features some rapids.

"These are mainly class 3 rapids at most flows, anyone  with a decent combat role or inflatable kayaks will get through there just fine at most flows...it's something the  whole community can enjoy," according to Tony Miely, Managing partner of 4Corners Riversports.

Durango's whitewater park was one of the first in the country.

"But really it has lost its luster over the years, to some of the newer state of the art parks and now I think we are going to be right back there in the game with some of these new features," said Miely.

City officials say this new park will pump almost 20-million dollars into Durango's economy every year.

But as for Miely, he just loves the chance to get the raft in the water.

"Why raft? Enjoy the outdoors, be in the water and sunshine, and beautiful place to be floating down a river."

The City of Durango told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that the machinery used in the river used vegetable-based hydraulic fluid in place of the standard petroleum-based fluid, in case of leaks. So far there have been no problems of river contamination.

The park will be completed in two phases. The first phase for all the river work is expected to be completed by April 15. The second phase will include work on areas on the bank and work will go through the summer.