Catch the Drift event Thursday at Chief Theater

Teresa Ristow

If you go:

What: Catch the Drift launch party

When: 6 to 9:15 p.m. Thursday, May 28

Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: $10, tickets available at All That or Shoe Chalet

— An event at the Chief Theater Thursday evening formally kicks off the “Catch the Drift” river stewardship project of the 2015 Leadership Steamboat class.

The class project involves renewing an interest in Yampa River stewardship originally promoted by Friends of the Yampa, which is working alongside the class on its various efforts, which include river stewardship kits, educational signs and Thursday night’s event.

The launch party runs from 6 to 9:15 p.m. and includes speakers with river expertise including Friends of the Yampa board member Kent Vertrees, Steamboat Springs Water Resources manager Kelly Heaney, U.S. Forest Service hydrologist Liz Schnackenberg and fish biologist Tildon Jones, in addition to a community panel discussion.

“It’s about educating people about the river and the importance of the Yampa to our community,” said Emily Conjura, a member of the 2015 Leadership Steamboat class.

The event is part of Water Week, a newly recognized series of water and river events that lead up to this Saturday’s 35th annual Yampa River Festival, sponsored by Friends of the Yampa.

Other Water Week activities include a Yampa River talk at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Butcherknife Brewery and a showing of the movie “Return of the River” and the annual State of the Yampa address at 7 p.m. next Wednesday, June 3 at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

A presentation on the Colorado Water Plan also took place Tuesday evening.

Thursday’s Catch the Drift launch party includes appetizers and drinks from 6 to 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Chief Theater and a chance to mingle with representatives from partnering organizations including Friends of the Yampa, Community Agriculture Alliance, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Yampatika.

Appetizers, provided by Community Agriculture Alliance, will hopefully lead attendees to consider the relationship between local food and water, Conjura said.

“We’re trying to make a connection between the importance of water and agriculture,” she said. “The whole overarching goal of the event is to increase awareness of the river and its overall importance.”

Kent Vertrees is the night’s first speaker and he will talk about the magic of the Yampa River and historical characters in the river’s rich history.

“It’s a wild river, and we don’t find that wildness too often on our rivers anymore,” Vertrees said.

Vertrees has been on the board of the Friends of the Yampa since the 1990s and was pleased when Leadership Steamboat chose river stewardship as its focus this year.

“Lots of people out there do respect the Yampa River — and [Catch the Drift] goes along with the campaign we’ve been preaching for 10 years — it’s great that other people do respect it too,” Vertrees said.

A silent auction fundraiser of 20 donated items is already underway at, with items available on-site during Thursday’s event. The auction closes at 8 p.m. that night.

Tickets for the event are $10 and are available at All That or the Shoe Chalet next door to the Chief Theater. They can also be purchased at the door if available.

For more information, email or visit

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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