Thursday Getaway: 62 Years

January 21 2016

Wild and free, the Yampa River in Northwest Colorado is the last major free-flowing river in the Colorado River Basin. The Yampa and its canyons are also home to many endangered species, and offer opportunities for recreation unlike anywhere else. As the Colorado River basin continues to dry, and water resources dwindle, the Yampa becomes ever more of a target for water diversion. For this reason, O.A.R.S. and American Rivers have teamed up on a film, 62 Yearsin an effort to encourage activists and key decision-makers to fight for the preservation of the Yampa. Here's where the film takes us: 
The last time Ken Brower traveled down the Yampa River in Northwest Colorado was with his father, David Brower, in 1952. This was the year his father became the first executive director of the Sierra Club and joined the fight against a pair of proposed dams on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. The dams—a big one at Echo Park and a smaller one at Split Mountain—would have flooded the canyons of the Green and its tributary, the Yampa, inundating the heart of Dinosaur National Monument. David Brower and the Sierra Club ultimately won the fight—ushering in a period many consider the dawn of modern environmentalism. Sixty-two years later, Ken revisited the Yampa and Green Rivers to reflect on his father's work, their 1952 river trip and how we will confront the looming water crisis in the American West.

“Words cannot adequately describe the Yampa Canyon through Dinosaur National Monument, nor can pictures capture its grandeur,” said Amy Kober, Senior Communications Director for American Rivers. “We need rivers like the Yampa — to remind us how rivers are supposed to function, to demonstrate that it is possible to sustain agriculture while protecting endangered fish and recreation, and to help us improve the management of other rivers in the Colorado Basin.”

We encourage you to watch the film, share the message and do your part to raise awareness about an issue that affects us all.