EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Zak Podmore kayaked the length of the Colorado River, first in 2011 when he and his partner journeyed 1,700 miles from the source of the Green River in Wyoming to the Gulf of California in Mexico, and again in 2012 from the source of the Colorado River to Lake Powell and beyond. Podmore, a Glenwood Springs local, has traveled over 2,500 miles by foot, kayak and raft in the last 18 months and has received a first-hand perspective on the different ways water is used in the Colorado River Basin.
As the next High Country Speaker Series presenter, Podmore will share stories and videos from his most recent trip, highlighting the particular interests of recreation, agriculture, and oil and gas - and those for whom the water no longer exists. His presentation will take place on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Avon Public Library as the third event of the H2Know Colorado: High Country Speaker Series. This year the High Country Speaker Series, a partnership between the Eagle Valley Library District and Walking Mountains Science Center, is collaborating with Eagle River Watershed Council to bring environmental speakers focusing on water issues to our community.
"When we talk about reasons to keep water in the Colorado River - as opposed to spreading it on the lawns of new subdivisions, sinking it deep into fracking wells, or sending it over the Rockies to other basins - recreation is often found near the top of the list," Podmore said. "Recreation is one of the few water uses that doesn't require pumping water out of our rivers. Instead, it encourages us to make our rivers as accessible, clean, and as naturally beautiful as possible."
To show that their journey last summer from the source of the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park to Lake Powell and beyond was more than one fun kayaking trip, Podmore and his three teammates, all recent Colorado College graduates, interviewed water users and conservationists alike, including the Eagle River Watershed Council. As Podmore shared in a recent Huffington Post article, kayaks weren't their only means of transportation.
"We decided to do things on (Lake) Powell a little differently than the average visitor. Thanks to the innovative folks at Jack's Plastic Welding, we got that chance. The Jack's Plastic 22-foot-long solar-powered raft took us 160 miles in six days from Hite, Utah, to Glen Canyon Dam without a single drop of fuel."
Podmore opened for the Watershed Council's Water Wise Wednesday screening of "Watershed," a film by Robert Redford, by showing a clip from "Remains of a River," the film of his 2011 source-to-sea journey by filmmaker and expedition partner Will Stauffer-Norris. That film has been shown across the country. For a sneak preview of their new films, go to their website, www.downthecolorado.org.
The final speaker in this series will be Jim Lochhead, chief executive officer/manager for Denver Water and part-time Vail resident, who will discuss the delicate balance of water issues between West Slope and Front Range residents on March 11 at 5:30 p.m. at Walking Mountains Science Center.
The High Country Speaker Series is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended but not required. For more information, or to make a reservation, call the Avon Public Library at 970-949-6797 or Walking Mountains Science Center at 970-827-9725.