Work beginning for Toots Hole on Yampa River
Steamboat Springs — Work begins Monday on a new whitewater feature on the Yampa River adjacent to Little Toots Park.
The new Toots Hole will be similar to the A-Wave upstream, which was reconstructed in December 2015.
“There is going to be a drop feature on the right-hand side and then a passage on the left for fish,” said Kent Vertrees, board member for Friends of the Yampa, which is carrying out the project in collaboration with the city of Steamboat Springs Parks and Community Services Department. “It will create a good, fun wave for tubers and also create some fish habitat.”
The project will include river bank stabilization, riparian habitat restoration and other improvements.
In December 2015, the river’s A-Wave was reconstructed, as the drop-off had become troublesome for tubers who could hurt themselves or become stuck in the wave.
“At low water, it was keeping tubers in the hole, or tubers were flipping in and getting stuck,” Vertrees said. “Now, it flushes.”
Both the A-Wave and Toots Hole projects are being funded by Friends of the Yampa, thanks to grants the organization received from the Colorado Water Conservancy board’s Yampa White Green Basin Roundtable and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.
Friends of the Yampa also organizes additional fundraisers, including its annual Big Snow Dance, which took place Saturday. The event raised more than $12,000 through an auction, money that will also support the Toots Hole project.
“That money goes directly into the river for this project,” Vertrees said. “The community of river people and Friends of the Yampa folks have really supported this project.”
The improvements to the river were identified in the 2008 Yampa River Structural Plan, and the two projects together are expected to cost about $130,000.
Vertrees said Toots Hole is the last component of what he calls the Yampa River Boating Park, a series of river features through downtown.
“We’ve created this interesting little urban river canyon, and we’re just adding to it,” he said. “We’re really excited about the conclusion of this project.”
Vertrees thanked Rick Mewborn, of Nordic Excavating, for his work on the projects, including donations of time and rock.
“Without him as a partner, this wouldn’t have been as successful,” he said.
Work on the project is expected to last about two weeks, and periodic closures of the Yampa River Core Trail might occur while work is taking place.
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