Poudre River Whitewater Park Summer Construction: Floaters Take Heed

Poudre River Whitewater Park


The new Poudre River Whitewater Park is coming soon and passersby may be eager to take a sneak peek during construction. However, this is not safe. Please take in mind this zone is closed to the public and is dangerous. Know that a float down the river might seem enticing but the City of Fort Collins stresses the importance of safety near the river. The Poudre River Whitewater Park site is full of hazards, including large equipment, open trenches, barren steep slopes, and large unstable boulder piles. This is an active construction site and trespassing is prohibited from College Avenue to the BNSF railroad bridge in the fenced-off worksite, along riverbanks, and on the river.

“The Poudre River Whitewater Park will be an incredible addition to our city. It will offer a unique opportunity to experience the river in downtown,” said Kurt Friesen, Director of Park Planning and Development.

The park construction is viewable from a distance as changes as the park continue to take shape. A crane installed the pedestrian bridge that spans the Cache la Poudre River recently for viewing the in-river features as they emerge.

“The biggest factors in building the whitewater park to Fort Collins,” says Kurt, “was the Poudre River Downtown Master Plan and community support.” Construction for the $11.5 million project began in August 2018. For those not in the know, the funds to build the park come from The City of Fort Collins Community Capital Improvements Program,  Storm-water, Natural Areas, and Parks and Public and private grants and donations.

Activities such as Boating, tubing, fishing, and bird watching will resume when the project is complete. There is a plan for an overlook terrace gathering, viewing areas, and Terraced river access upon completion. The project offers a vibrant connection between downtown and the river.

The City has completed no economic studies but the Park will impact tourism, provide connections to the Innovation and River Districts, and help connect downtown to North Fort Collins businesses.


There are three tenants of the project:

  •   Storm-water benefits: reduced floodway, increased conveyance, and new systems to capture runoff, clean it up and return it to the river.
  •   Natural Areas benefits: fish passage, wildlife corridor enhancements, and restoration of the site and river.
  •   Recreation benefits: whitewater features, ADA access to the river community gathering spaces, overlook terrace, a pedestrian bridge, and parking.


There is still much work to complete before the project opens, including boulder wall construction, stair and walk construction, bridge decking, the south bank plaza, all walks and trails, street improvements, utility connections, and parking lot and landscape enhancements.

When construction is complete, however, there will be a Wave shelter at overlook terrace created by artist through Art in Public Place program. It improves Vine Drive to provide on-street parking and a bike lane.


5 historic sites are located within the project boundary. The sites include the Grotto, Coy diversion dam and headgate, BNSF railroad bridge, UP railroad bridge, and the Quonset at 105 Vine. This is the first ever recreational in-stream water right established at the Coy diversion. The Whitewater Park project is using/exercising that right and continuing to measure flows at this location.

Access to the Poudre River Whitewater Park will be available later this summer when construction is complete.

The City will schedule a Grand Opening Celebration for fall 2019.

For more information and updates about the progress of the park, visit fcgov.com/parkplanning.


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1 Comment

  1. They might as well wait until next year to have a grand opening. There will be no water in the river, thus no boaters in the fall, which was the whole point fo the park. Who’s doing the planning.

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