August 23, 2013
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The other day, I passed the guy with the “Tree Huggers Suck” sticker on the windshield of his beat-up pickup. The first time I saw this truck was after a long contentious day when a professional conservationist feels like a lone voice in a wilderness study area and I was further discouraged. This time I just grinned as I know I’m not alone.
Through the peaks and canyons of far Northwest Colorado run two rivers, the Green and the Yampa, carving gashes as deep as 2,500 feet into the red sandstone. The untamed rivers with Class III to V rapids captured the interest of explorers like John Wesley Powell, who led the first recorded scientific expedition in 1869, and intrepid reporters from The Denver Post who wrote about their attempt to run the rivers in 1928. The photos and stories of these daring adventures enticed thrill-seekers to journey to what is now Dinosaur National Monument to ride the rivers solely for recreation. According to many, this was the beginning of the whitewater rafting industry in Colorado.