January 13, 2015
(Washington, DC) – Colorado’s Yampa River is the focus of a new Google Maps Street View project launched today in partnership with American Rivers. The imagery showcases the stunning scenery of the Yampa River through Dinosaur National Monument in Northwestern Colorado. The Yampa is one of the last wild rivers in the Colorado River Basin, and is an example of how wild rivers support vibrant recreation economies and fish and wildlife, and connect us to our shared natural and cultural heritage.
Drought and increased demand are putting further strain on Colorado Basin water supplies, and with proposals for new dams and trans-basin diversions, the future of the Yampa hangs in the balance. In 2013, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper ordered the state to develop its first water plan, with the goal of managing water sustainably for decades to come. In the Draft Plan, released late last year, protecting the Yampa River for fish and wildlife, recreation and agriculture was identified as a priority. In conjunction with the Street View release, American Rivers is calling on Governor Hickenlooper to stand up for a wild and protected Yampa River as part of Colorado’s final Water Plan.
The Yampa River Street View project celebrates the river’s classic canyon scenery, beautiful landscapes, and whitewater rapids, and highlights the many values that a wild and free-flowing Yampa River has for local communities and the region as a whole.
Supported by the outfitter O.A.R.S. and in partnership with Friends of the Yampa, American Rivers staff used the Street View Trekker camera on a four-day float on the Yampa through Dinosaur National Monument in June 2014 to capture the river imagery. The Street View Trekker, on a special mount on the raft, captured a full 360-degree panorama every few seconds. This allows users to “join the raft” and explore 72 miles of the river, from Deerlodge Park near Craig, Colorado, through the confluence with the Green River, to Split Mountain near Vernal, Utah. Trip members also wore the Street View Trekker to capture popular side hikes, including Bull Canyon Trail with its dramatic overlook.
“The wild Yampa is important because it shows that we can sustain vibrant agriculture while conserving endangered fish and supporting recreation,” said Matt Rice, Director of Colorado River Basin Programs for American Rivers. “This is why American Rivers is working with partners across the basin to find solutions that will safeguard the Yampa for generations to come. We will always stand up for the wild Yampa River.”
“O.A.R.S. is proud to be a partner of American Rivers and Friends of the Yampa with the Google Street View project because we are confident this initiative will help increase awareness of the wild Yampa River and the importance of protecting this world class recreational river for future generations,” said George Wendt, founder of O.A.R.S. “The timing of this initiative will help bring more awareness to the Centennial of Dinosaur National Monument which is being celebrated in 2015.”
“We are excited and hopeful that this new tool will bring increased awareness of the exceptional Yampa River. And we are positive that these ‘virtual visits’ to the Yampa will lead to more people wanting to help protect this magical place,” said Soren Jespersen, Board President of Friends of the Yampa.
“We first partnered with American Rivers for the Colorado River Street View project last year. Today, we’re very proud that American River has successfully collected their first Street View river collection entirely on their own as part of our Trekker Loan Program,” said Karin Tuxen-Bettman, Program Manager at Google Earth Outreach. “By making this imagery of the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument available online, we hope this inspires viewers from around the world to take an active interest in exploring, protecting, and participating in this beautiful intact ecosystem.”
“We hope the release of the Yampa River Google Street View will bring greater awareness to this incredible resource,” stated Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Mark Foust. “As the last natural flowing large tributary of the entire Colorado River system, the Yampa River preserves an amazing array of plant and animal communities along with the natural cycles they depend upon. This technology will provide people who may never get the opportunity to see the Yampa River in person to learn about the river and its ecological and wilderness values.”
American Rivers recently joined partners at Friends of the Yampa, American Whitewater, and O.A.R.S. to support the film “Warm Springs,” produced by Rig to Flip. The film documents the history of Warm Springs rapid, the unique role the Yampa River played in creating the modern river conservation movement, and the importance of keeping the Yampa wild and free.
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About American Rivers
American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 250,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.