New River Ambassadors program kicks off in May, but staff, volunteers are needed
If being outside along the Yampa River and educating residents and visitors about how to protect the river ecosystem is your kind of fun, Friends of the Yampa has a job for you.
By the end of May, Friends of the Yampa will launch a new program with two seasonal part-time river ambassadors to work under a contract with the city of Steamboat Springs. This approach to river stewardship and etiquette is meant to boost city education efforts as river use continues to grow, said Lindsey Marlow, executive director at Friends of the Yampa.
“The best way to capture an audience and educate is in the planning phases of visiting the Yampa River,” according to the Friends of the Yampa proposal to Steamboat Springs Parks & Recreation staff. “One of FOTY’s largest focuses historically has been to make locals and visitors aware of this amazing resource, be able to access it, but also to understand how to do it respectful of others, the health of the river and the habitat it provides for native and sports fish.”
The river ambassador proposal was approved by Steamboat Springs City Council on May 2.
Marlow said the effort will first focus on the city-owned access points to the river in order to educate as many river users as possible with a “Know Before you Go” approach covering such topics as safety, preparation, trash and health of the river.
The ambassador staff will keep in contact with staff from city parks, outfitters and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The ambassadors will focus efforts on busier times such as surrounding Fourth of July, with the majority of outreach occurring during the river tubing season.
Marlow said the nonprofit believes increased recreational use of the Yampa River, especially concerning tubing, creates a necessity “to get ahead of the potential increased growth and connect with private river recreationalists to ensure that we are all taking ownership of river stewardship and are active participants in following the rules of the river.”
The nonprofit will utilize their videos about “Yampa River Floater Etiquette” and “How You Can Tube It Like a Pro” through social media pushes and has created a new Facebook group called Yampa River Updates that will be updated with current conditions, hazards and considerations for floating the Yampa.
The river ambassador program also will utilize volunteers, and the nonprofit is seeking at least 10 people age 16 and older to commit to help this summer. Volunteers that assist the paid seasonal staff can participate while floating down the river, fishing or hanging out along the river at commonly used access points such as at Dr. Rich Weiss Park, C-Hole, D-Hole and Transit Center.
Those applying for the river ambassador positions need to be 18 or older. Interested job applicants or volunteers can reach out to Friends of the Yampa at email@example.com.
Marlow said the new ambassador program has the potential to expand up and down the Yampa River to create a holistic educational approach and to ensure that problems are not being pushed outside of the river access spots within the city.
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.
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