Event in Steamboat to raise money for Yampa River enhancements | SteamboatToday.com

Event in Steamboat to raise money for Yampa River enhancements

A concrete barrier is being constructed to divert the Yampa River flow so work can be done on Charlie’s Hole. Friends of the Yampa
Matt Stensland

A concrete barrier is being constructed to divert the Yampa River flow so work can be done on Charlie’s Hole. Friends of the Yampa, a community organization with a passion for the Yampa River has worked with the city to make the repairs possible. The nonprofit group is hosting a fundraiser Saturday to raise funds to add more features to the river. Organizers set a goal of raising $7,500 to $10,000 at the event.
Matt Stensland

— The recent snow deluge has temporarily suspended repair work on Charlie’s Hole, the downtown Steamboat Springs Yampa River feature that washed out during spring’s short but ferocious runoff.

Even if work can resume after Thanksgiving, as organizers hope, that project stands as only the first part of a long-term plan the city and the Friends of the Yampa organization have in mind.

If improved river features, built with all users in mind, are to be, however, the first step is fundraising.

That’s the hurdle Friends of the Yampa hopes to begin to overcome with the Big Snow Dance, a dinner and private auction fundraiser set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Sweetwater Grill in downtown Steamboat Springs.

“We’re furiously working on it,” Friends board of directors President Ken Brenner said Thurs­­day. “When the C-Hole blew out in high water this year, we knew we needed to repair it. … That’s when we said to ourselves, ‘Let’s see if we can make some serious money, and we’ll explore the possibility of a relationship with the city and use our fundraising as a match to help get more grants.’”

Raising that money has been an ongoing effort.

Board members said converting the club to nonprofit 501(c)(3) status earlier this year was a major step. They also put on a garage sale that helped.

Now, they’re hoping the family-friendly Big Snow Dan­ce can be the next big part in their plan.

The event will feature a dinner furnished by Sweetwater, a silent auction with more than 75 items, ski movies and a performance by the band Missed the Boat.

Tickets for patrons 16 years old and older for the dinner are $20. The cost is $10 to attend without dinner and is $5 after 7:30 p.m.

“We’ve got all kinds of stuff for the auction,” Brenner said. “I haven’t been turned down by anyone yet. We have Steam­boat Powdercats trips, river trips, art, and lots items and services provided by local businesses.”

Organizers set a goal of raising $7,500 to $10,000 at the event, and they hope to eventually raise $100,000.

Just what all that will fund still is up in the air. When the C-Hole collapsed, the often-crowded summer spot — used as everything from a venue for professional kayaking competitions to a lazy late-summer swimming hole — jumped to the top of the priority list.

Work also is envisioned on other features, such as the Z-Hole behind Double Z Bar & BBQ, and the feature behind the ambulance barn.

“We don’t need the exact same thing as C-Hole. That’s great for what it is,” Friends of the Yampa board member Eugene Buchanan said. “With the (ambulance barn hole), we need something with a better deep channel for tubers to pass around on one side, then perhaps a wave feature that’s not exactly another hole.”

Buchanan said a wave even could be created to better suit stand-up paddleboards.

The earliest that work likely would begin on any such projects would be fall. For now, the group simply is focused on raising the money to make the projects possible.

“Everyone should come out and attend,” Buchanan said. “It’s going to be a great time.”

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