Yessir, the fishing is good here — so good, in fact, that he's lost the better part of entire days in his float tube and flippers. And for a guy who's been fishing since before he could walk, hooked from the first time his dad took him fishing at Dillon Lake, Baker can hardly imagine a better way to spend an evening.

— Dave Herrera

Video: Take a fast-forward ride down the South Platte River trail

The tunnel in Lakewood Gulch where Elsha Guel tried to take shelter in 2007. Video: Take a fast-forward ride down the South Platte River trail
photo Courtesy of RTD, Denver
The tunnel in Lakewood Gulch where Elsha Guel tried to take shelter in 2007. Video: Take a fast-forward ride down the South Platte River trail
The tunnel in Lakewood Gulch in 2011, after improvements were made. Video: Take a fast-forward ride down the South Platte River trail
photo Courtesy of RTD, Denver
The tunnel in Lakewood Gulch in 2011, after improvements were made. Video: Take a fast-forward ride down the South Platte River trail

Details

VIDEO
Take a fast-forward tour of the South Platte River trail, stopping at points written about in this story. Watch video.

******

Jeff Shoemaker will start his 31st year at the Greenway Foundation on June 15. He's thirty years younger than his father, which means that he and his team should have plenty of time to push the River Vision Implementation Plan, which the foundation worked on with the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation and Urban Drainage and Flood Control, merging the River North and River South plans into one grand plan; it calls for $75 million in improvements over the next decade, with $20 million of those recommendations targeted for the next few years.

The RVIP, which has been endorsed by Denver City Council, calls for short-term projects at RiNo (the Art Bridge), Sun Valley, Vanderbilt and Johnson-Habitat Park and the Grant Frontier/Overland Regional Park, as well as a renewed vision for Confluence Park, including a revitalized Shoemaker Plaza — a space so named in the mid-'80s, much to the family's surprise. "There should be a Confluence Park up and down the river," says Shoemaker. And while the Greenway pushes that master plan, the foundation will continue to emphasize its youth education program, SPREE, as well as host a variety of cultural and community events.

With all that on his Platte plate, Shoemaker still found time to accept the Champion of Change award he was given in late April by the White House, for his work spearheading the efforts of the Greenway Foundation. "Jeff is a visionary in our community who has dedicated great passion and resources to transforming Denver's South Platte River and its tributaries," says Mayor Michael Hancock.

"It's very important to me personally that it's made clear that the only way we've been able to do anything is through the remarkable partnerships we've had with countless organizations and entities...none better than the City and County of Denver," Shoemaker responds. "We have no mandate-able authority that requires everyone to work with us. I consider us to be a minority partner in a four-legged stool: public, private, political and philanthropic. All four have to be in place for you to have a maximized success."

And all four were out in force at the Rocky Mountain National Wildlife Refuge last Friday, when Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Governor John Hickenlooper announced the next steps in implementing conservation and recreation projects throughout the Denver area and along the South Platte River — with several shout-outs for the Greenway Foundation.

But after that, it was back to work. "A master plan is only as valuable as its ability to be implemented," Shoemaker points out. "We're asked all the time: When are you going to be done? My longstanding, somewhat completely tongue-in-cheek answer is when the Denver Art Museum needs no more art, when the Denver Public Library needs no more books. There is no done." — Calhoun 

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
KevinInCentennial
KevinInCentennial

Lots of people also have fun gold panning in the river. I would love to see that mentioned along with the running, fishing, boating,etc. sometimes at Grant Frontier Park on the weekends there are more than 10 gold prospectors and most days at least one or two.

sifted1
sifted1

I love the path...I do not like the degrading comment about the homeless. This whole city is becoming a yuppie tourist trap. I hope all those "plans' for the Globeville part of the path do not go through. It is a nice area but real. Homeless people share the area with the yups all done up in thier cute little spandex bike suits and helmets. Yet the park itself is quiet and peaceful. If the plans for the area go through it will become a tourist trap like Confluence Park all clogged with people and very little wildlife. Did the evil fat cats REALLY ban homeless camping in the whole city? It is obvious they were never homeless. I laugh and laugh at the yups who pay a million dollars to live a block away from the rescue mission. I guess the REAL reason they are here is to drive the poor away to the degrading suburbs so they can have a REEL urban experience. I felt the article was really just thinly disguised boosterism.

MARGYVER
MARGYVER

I grew up in Swansea near globeville and the Platte....it used to be so horrible back in the day. Im always glad to see all the improvements. If I ever hit the lottery......im gonna give back to my old neighborhood to make sure that future generations never see it as crappy as I did!!!

Skotl
Skotl

Trying to make some improvements upstream as well - South Suburban Parks and Recreation partnering with Littleton, Urban Drainage, Trout Unlimited to enhance the river through South Platte Park in Littleton. The plan should help concentrate extremely low flows to create better fish survival and more varied aquatic habitat. Phase 1 to be constructed hopefully this fall, still seeking funding for the full plan, but the entire plan can be viewed (large file) on Littleton's website here: http://www.littletongov.org/pa...

calhounp
calhounp

I'd like to publish some of these comments in our print edition, ideally with your full name/town. If that's okay, e-mail me at patricia.calhoun@westword.com

Miles
Miles

Great article! I've been documenting unsanctioned use of the Lakewood gulch area for several years for a street-art project WeDUPT (West Denver Urban Preserve and Trail) http://www.sociometry.com/wpsb... It's interesting to see the greenway renewals effect on the homeless (and day-drinker) population. There are already new unsanctioned paths being trampled to and from clandestine camping spots in area – taking advantage of the new light-rail tracks segmenting off one side of the creek into barely accessible enclaves. It has however shifted a lot of homeless people away. Not so much up by the Taxi building, on a recent bike ride up there I saw easily 40 to 50 homeless people and several quasi-permanent camp spots. The recent ban on urban camping initiative will undoubtedly bring more people into the corridor hiding out from sweeps on the 16th St. Mall and Civic Center Park areas.

Whatajoke
Whatajoke

The improvements are great, but allowing Suncor to get away with decades of environmental degradation is shameful.

guest
guest

I commute by bike from Thornton to Denver on the Platte River Trail, and this trail is an urban treasure. While biking it I have seen abundant wildlife including Bald Eagles, Beavers, Owls, Coyotes, Deer, Snakes, White Pelicans, and countless other bird species. Major kudos to the Shoemakers for their dedication to this great river and its inhibitants.

 
Loading...