Story of the Dolores

Since the late 1980s, when McPhee Dam started diverting the water out of the Dolores River in Colorado, it’s been a long haul to protect and restore this paddling gem of the Southwest. Today a combination of new federal legislation and a state in-stream water right have conservation advocates and paddlers hoping that permanent protections of the river canyon could finally become a reality. Since the 1970s, this gorgeous river and its redrock canyons have been found suitable for Wild and Scenic designation (over vitriolic opposition from irrigated agriculture interests). The river now flows at almost a trickle in most years, endangering native fish and plants and making this once world-class paddling destination nearly impossible for Americans to experience.

Read: Story of the Dolores | Canoe & Kayak