Whitewater Park Could Marry Recreation, Conservation
Ketchum, Idaho (KMVT-TV) A proposed white water park north of Ketchum could do double duty by having a place for kayakers to play in the water as well as providing some flood control for the Big Wood River.
About three miles north of Ketchum, just upstream from the Sun Peak Picnic Area, the city of Ketchum wants to build River Park, a recreation area that would be built on a 1500 foot stretch of the Big Wood River.
Jen Smith, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Ketchum, says, "The plan is now to create a recreation component for the city of Ketchum, including a whitewater park, enhanced nature trails, picnic shelters, restrooms, other facilities like that."
Last week the Wood River Land Trust and the White Water Park Committee agreed to each pay for one third of the environmental assessment, leaving the city of Ketchum's share at just under $34,000. Flooding six years ago negatively affected the safety of the Big Wood River here.
Scott Boettger, Executive Director of the Wood River Land Trust, says, "Those deep structures which end up being the playways for the kayakers actually help maintain the river grade, and lessen flooding damage downriver, as well as providing key habitat and deep water pools for the fishery."
Construction of River Park could begin in the next two or three years. But the proposal needs to get the okay from federal, state, and local agencies first.
Smith says, "This location is wholly owned by the federal government at this time, so it is fully accessible as public property, and it will remain so. No other portion of this river course has that characteristic. So it's kind of unique that way, that people can access it from both sides of the river."
Smith says the proposed River Park would be a great marriage of conservation and recreation.
Sept. 24, 2012.