Tue, Mar 27 2012 at 3:19 PM
I grew up here in Canon City Colorado since I was born in 1958. Although I've left the area a few times over the years I've spent most of my life here. The Arkansas river has played an important part of my life. I first learned how to walk & fish crawling from one big rock to the next along this river with a small Zebco fishing pole in my hand. I caught my first big Brown Trout over 24" long in the Royal Gorge Canyon when I was 4 or 5 yrs old, learned how to fly fish on the calm stretches of water. And I've spent many spring, summer, & fall days with my father fishing along this river between Canon City and Salida. Normally I would be against this weird idea of covering the river in sections because it would ruin the fishing. But the Pueblo Reservoir has already done that. The river used to be full of small fish we just called Chubs. They never got much more than 3" to 4" long and were what the big Browns fed on. I've often found three or four of them in the belly of a big Brown or Rainbow when cleaning them. But after the Pueblo Reservoir was put in the chubs disappeared and were replaced with Suckers or Carp, trash fish. People use little ones for bait in the Reservoir and when they quit fishing they dump their left over bait fish in the lake. The last time I fished the Royal Gorge Canyon was about 20 years ago. I caught 6 Suckers where I used to catch Browns and Rainbows. So between Pueblo Reservoir killing the natural source of food for the Trout that are supposed to be in the river and replacing them with trash fish, and all the rafters running the river, fishing the Arkansas river has turned into a sick joke. As if that wasn't enough to ruin public fishing on the river the state has leased fishing rights to out of state fishing clubs. So most of the best stretches of river for fishing are no longer open to the public. And the State has made a whole set of rules for different parts of the river. They are so confusing you just about have to be a lawyer to figure them out. So to say this guys Art Project would hurt the fishing in the river, to late, its already been killed and most people don't even know it. Or care, they just want to run their rafts full of tourist money down the river. As for it obstructing animal migrations? I've never seen a Elk, Deer, or Bighorn Sheep, try to swim the river to cross it. In that area I've seen thousands of Mule Deer along highway 50 and a couple hundred Bighorn Sheep, and maybe even a few Elk. I don't know how they cross over when they do, but there's the occasional bridge and a few wide parts of the river where the water isn't deep and fast. So I doubt this Art thing would hurt the animals. I think the bigger danger is for the people driving the highway. Several times while going around a blind curve I've come up on people stopped in the middle of the highway, out of their cars, and taking pictures of the Bighorn Sheep or rafters going down the river. Leaving their car sitting in the middle of the highway with the doors open! Acting like they are on some sort of drive through a wildlife park! I can just see somebody being too busy looking at this fabric stuff over the river, and hit somebody. Or drive off the highway into it and the river. Several cars every year run off the highway into the river. I think this would cause a lot more of that and other accidents by being a distraction to drivers. Its bad enough getting stuck behind a flat-lander doing 30 mph, scared to death of the curvy road or gawking at the mountains looking for the Bighorn Sheep. This would make that several time worse. I ask you, is this "Art" worth the life of even one person that is run off the highway and into the river to drown, because somebody wasn't paying attention to their driving and looking at this fabric stuff and ran them off the road? This is a very dangerous 50 mile stretch of highway with one blind corner after another. It's not as bad as it used to be and now has a couple passing lanes that have been put in. But, most of it is still only a two lane highway with a drop off into the river on one side, and a rock wall going strait up on the other. This is a bad idea for this area and a lot of people will be injured & killed from being run off the road by other distracted drivers. If you really want to do something that would make a statement, and be safer, hang a curtain across the Royal Gorge Canyon above the Arkansas River. It would be spectacular to see from the Royal Gorge Bridge, and wouldn't be distracting to people trying to drive a highway that is dangerous enough already. That's my 2 cents worth on it.