Many of the whitewater parks that Recreation Engineering and Planning have designed have proven to be immense economic assets for the communities that they are located in. More and more cities are recognizing this important benefit of whitewater parks, especially in Michigan, where four separate REP projects are currently underway. This news article discusses this emerging trend and how it will benefit Michigan’s cities.
REP converted a low head dam into a brand new whitewater park for Charles City, Iowa! The whitewater park is the first of its kind in the state and its already enjoying enormous success, attracting paddlers from all over the midwest. Here are links to some media about the project and some photos from its grand opening, which took place this summer.
Check out all these great photos from Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade, where this years USA Freestyle Kayaking National Champs were held! This park boasts a huge variety of features, so there is something for everyone, from freestyle pros to novice paddlers, and even spectators.
Freestyle kayakers doing tricks during the competition
This year, the USA Freestyle Kayaking Association held its National Championships at REP’s Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade, Idaho! This terrific event was a huge success and Recreation Engineering and Planning’s whitewater course, which opened in August 2010, proved to be the ideal setting. Check out these press releases for information about the competition and this world-class whitewater park!
Recreation Engineering & Planning Celebrates Wave on New River Parks
Boulder,Colo., river park design firm Recreation Engineering & Planning is celebrating a wave of new and soon-to-open whitewater parksacrossNorth America, fueling a trend of communities large and small embracing and restoring their local waterways.
While the automotive industry decline has sentMichigan’s economy reeling, the state is pursuing another economic engine that runs on water rather than gasoline, with at least four new whitewater parks in various stages of development, at an estimated value of more than $15 million. Included are those in the once automotive-hotbed ofFlint, as well asAnn Arbor, Petoskey andGrand Rapids. Additionally, a new park in Charles City, Iowa, celebrates its grand opening July 29, a new $4.5 million park on the Trinity River in Dallas celebrates its inauguration in August, and the newly opened Kelly’s Whitewater park on Cascade, Idaho’s North Fork Payette River hosts the Freestyle National Championship July 8-9.
InSpringfield,Ohio, a series of dangerous and outdated low-head dams onBuckCreekhave been converted into a new whitewater park as well, with two renovated low-head dam sites opening this spring and two more scheduled for construction this year.
“The project has multiple aspects — recreation, environmental and stream restoration, improvement of the aquatic environment,” says Friends of Buck Creek board member John Loftis. “It’s already proving a great amenity to the town.” Adds former American Canoe Association executive director Pamela Dillon, now chief of ODNR’s Division of Watercraft: “Springfieldis at the forefront of a trend to create whitewater features from low-head dams. What they did was amazing — they identified a series of hazards and turned them 180 degrees around to create play andactivity areas. Paddlers are already traveling intoSpringfieldfrom surrounding states to use the facility, and it’s a great draw to an area not previously known for its whitewater opportunities.”
On the larger end of the spectrum, REP is also putting the finishing touches on the new 2.5-year, $17 million Harvie Passage river park on Calgary’s Bow River, creating the world’s largest in-stream river park and recreational, dam-safety improvement in North America. Renovating a weir that has been responsible for 14 drownings since its construction in 1975, the project is funded, in part, by the Alberta Lottery Fund.
“It’s by far the biggest in-stream river park project we’ve ever been involved in,” says REP president Gary Lacy, who’s had a hand in nearly 80 such parksacross theU.S.country. “It’s also one of the first-ever dam modifications into a river park inCanada.”
As well as enhancing community amenities, these parks bring a new revenue stream to their towns as well. Golden,Colo., public works director Dan Hartman estimates that its park brings in 40,000 visitors and $4 million annually to theFront Rangetown. “They connect the community to the river and revitalize local economies,” says Lacy. “Plus, in any cases, convert liabilities into recreational amenities.”