Community Agriculture Alliance: Yampa River events and learning opportunities galore |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Yampa River events and learning opportunities galore

Kent Vertrees
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Crowds gather at Charlie’s Hole on the Yampa River to watch events of the Yampa River Festival last year.
Katie Berning/staff

It’s go time, folks. The Yampa River and its tributaries are rising and peak water will soon be upon us. Though we’ve seen cool temps, snow and nasty, beautiful, “springlike” weather, our beloved Yampa River is in the midst of its runoff, and this means it’s the time of year when agricultural preparations are in full swing and river recreation is at its wildest.  

This time of year also is the focus of several river education, celebrations and awareness trips that our local water community organizes. It’s a time of year where you can learn about the river, the snow and runoff, the water in our rivers and enjoy the recreation and celebration of all things Yampa. 

Mark your calendar of these educational, fun-filled, water-related events in the near future.

6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 30: The State of the Yampa Address is the kickoff to the Yampa River Festival at the Chief Theater and includes river talks, movies and music. Celebrate the 150th anniversary of John Wesley Powell’s float down the Colorado River and how it relates to the Yampa Basin. 

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4:30 p.m. Friday, May 31: Fish Creek kayak slalom race will start with athletes paddling middle Fish Creek near where Steamboat Boulevard crosses over Fish Creek in The Sanctuary. 

All day Saturday, June 1: The 39th annual Yampa River Festival is an all day event celebrating recreation on the Yampa River in downtown Steamboat Springs. The main event is at Charlie’s Hole near the Bud Werner Memorial Library. River dog, packraft, stand-up paddleboarding, kayak, tubing and rafting events will take place. Stay for food vendors and a beer garden along with educational opportunities. Family friendly and fun for all, even if you don’t get in the water. 

Noon Sunday, June 2: Kayak slalom race at Rich Weiss Park.

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 4 to 5: The Yampa Basin Rendezvous will be held at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs. This water, snow, and climate conference is a unique glimpse into questions of how the Yampa River experience the effects of the changing climate and how our community can respond. The conference is free and includes local, regional and national speakers on a variety of topics related to the Yampa River.  

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5: Community event and closing talks of the Yampa Basin Rendezvous at CMC. Join Tim Sullivan from the Nature Conservancy, Matt Hamilton from the Aspen Ski Corporation and Brad Udall from the Colorado Water Institute to learn how the Yampa Basin can build resilience in a changing climate. 

Lots to learn, much to celebrate and lots of water to recreate in over the next few weeks. Hope to see you out and about over the next few days. Learn more at

Kent Vertrees is the board president of the Friends of the Yampa. He respects all uses of the Yampa River and loves sharing his passion about this important river anyone who will listen. 

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