Headwaters River Journey museum highlights value of Grand County rivers

At the Headwaters River Journey museum in Winter Park, visitors learn about initiatives to protect the Fraser River and maintain it great adequate to sustain the fish population. On Friday, April 22, the Headwaters Heart will keep an Earth Day Celebration from 3-7 p.m.

A lot of rivers operate through Grand County — their waters are vital to the daily life of locals and these on the Entrance Selection. The Headwaters River Journey highlights the importance of conserving them and safeguarding the riparian ecosystem. H2o is basically everyday living — the Headwaters River Journey teaches this in a exciting, interactive way for each young children and grown ups.

The museum sits near the Fraser River, off of U.S. Highway 40 in the coronary heart of Winter season Park. In advance of touring it, readers can explore the trails along the river’s banks, enduring the beauty of this natural resource initially-hand. Inside the museum, displays train how rivers enable daily jobs as uncomplicated as showering, supply outside pursuits like kayaking and support the fragile equilibrium of bugs, birds and wildlife.

When I frequented, I uncovered around 30 multidimensional displays, like types that gave me the point-of-look at of various species. Guests can crawl into a beaver dam, fly like a fowl and swim like a fish, many thanks to the interactive technology.



I started my tour by learning about two of Grand County’s key rivers: the Colorado and the Fraser. Subsequent, I found out the many species that depend on, and help assist, these flowing bodies of drinking water. Insects such as the stone fly and mayfly are a sign of a river’s overall health. Fish like trout and salmon, and birds like ducks and geese, make their residences in the rivers. Beavers act as ecosystem engineers, developing dams to make sure wholesome wetlands.

I acquired about the inhabitants geography of Colorado, and how that relates to h2o use. Colorado is split into the West Slope and East Slope by the Continental Divide. The West Slope, with its confluence of rivers, supplies about 80% of Colorado’s h2o. The East Slope, at the time a large, dry prairie and now household to about 80% of Colorado’s inhabitants, makes use of the most h2o.



The Headwaters River Journey museum is entire of details one particular just can’t glean by simply walking in close proximity to or fishing in a river.
Meg Soyars/Courtesy Picture

The museum shows how Western Slope water is diverted into ditches, then piped across the divide, employing initiatives like the substantial Moffat h2o tunnel, which operates parallel to the Moffat train tunnel. Now when I stroll alongside this tunnel, I’ll know how critical it is to the East Slope’s water needs.

Readers can study about the Moffat water tunnel’s design, undertaken in the 1930s. It price the lives of 26 males, but authorized Denver to turn out to be the booming metropolis it is now. The history of h2o rights in Colorado usually culminated in fights among water barons who wished to divert the water to city regions, and farmers who believed they had a suitable to the water on their land. A historic quote displayed in the museum reads, “Whiskey’s for drinkin’ — water’s for fightin’,” a prevalent mind-set held during the West’s development.

Grand County’s rivers source 80% of Colorado citizens with water. Study much more about this and other facets of the county’s rivers at Headwaters River Journey museum in Winter Park.
Meg Soyars/Courtesy Photo

Colorado’s inhabitants have appear a extended way from this belligerent mindset, as a quotation by Kirk Klancke, president of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unrestricted, relays: “We can’t just be preventing East Slope-West Slope. There should be no division. We’re one particular Colorado, and we all have to have h2o.”

The only way to ensure there is more than enough drinking water for all Coloradans is to observe conservation. Forty million People count on the Colorado River and its tributaries for water, and this range will only grow. By 2050, the state’s inhabitants is expected to exceed eight million folks. That means around three million a lot more Coloradans will use drinking water for ingesting, landscaping, recreating and extra. That is a terrifying imagined when you take into account that local climate adjust will very likely outcome in much less snowfall, the runoff of which is vital to supplying the Western Slope’s rivers.

The museum highlighted several means citizens can preserve this cherished source. At this time, more than half the h2o use in metro Denver goes to watering lawns and landscaping. 1 alternative to conserving drinking water is as uncomplicated as turning off the sprinkler. Residents with lawns can also plant indigenous grasses that need considerably less h2o, rather of the Kentucky bluegrass which is so frequent to suburban lawns (an clear truth to some, but not so to way too many).

The very last show in the museum was the “Think Tank,” in which I was invited to produce down what I system to do in my each day life to preserve water. One particular customer wrote, “turn off the sink when you brush all those enamel!” and an additional wrote, “use significantly less h2o when washing your arms.” Each individual particular person making one small alter provides to mission of conservation, just as one smaller drinking water drop adds to the mighty Colorado River.

For those people who have not yet visited the museum, Earth Working day may well be the fantastic time to stop by and explore the exhibits. The Headwaters Centre will hold an Earth Working day Celebration on Friday, April 22, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

“There will be 11 companies having instructional things to do and video games upstairs in the celebration centre, and company can tour the museum soon after,” Evie Guay, the Headwaters River Journey Supervisor, told me.

The function charges $10 (which include museum entry) and is cost-free to young children 12 and underneath. Participating sponsors include things like Trout Unrestricted, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, the Headwaters Trails Alliance and some others.

“It’s a celebration of the earth, and also a way for the local community to get collectively again submit-COVID!” reported Guay. To master a lot more about the Earth Day Celebration or long term occasions at the museum, visit HeadwatersRiverJourney.com.

An academic oasis beside the Fraser River awaits.