Friends of the Yampa seeks to partner with city on future boat takeout ramp in Steamboat Springs |

Friends of the Yampa seeks to partner with city on future boat takeout ramp in Steamboat Springs

The waters of the Yampa River near the ambulance barn flow through snow-covered banks this week. A primary initiative for the Friends of the Yampa this year is to continue working with the city

— Friends of the Yampa, the Steamboat Springs-based river advocacy group, will increase its efforts this year to collaborate with the city of Steamboat Springs to create a plan to build a future boat takeout ramp on the Yampa River. It would allow owners of river rafts and drift boats to conveniently float the town stretch of the Yampa during a short window in spring when the river is floatable by the larger craft.

"Cities across the Western Slope have these structures, and we'd really like to get something done here so people with boats that have to be trailered can get them out of the water," Soren Jespersen said.

He is the newly elected president of the not-for-profit Friends of the Yampa, succeeding Adam Mayo and Eugene Buchanan, who shared the role in 2013. Jespersen also is the Northwest Colorado wildlands coordinator for The Wilderness Society.

He said this week that boaters currently can launch their craft at an informal spot in River Creek Park near the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road. But there is no downstream location on public property where those boaters can back a trailer down to the river to retrieve their craft. Friends of the Yampa has focused on Bear River Park near the skate park on the city's west side as a desirable location. However, city officials want to consider other locations, as well, Jespersen said.

His hope is to refine designs and cost estimates with the city in 2014, which would lead to construction further in the future.

"You can only use those boats in the spring at higher flows, so it shouldn't interfere with tubing," Jespersen said.

Other officers elected to serve on the Friends of the Yampa Board this week include Vice President Charlie Preston Townsend. Cody Perry is the secretary, and Greg Henion will serve as treasurer.

Jespersen said another primary initiative for his group this year is to continue working with the city, Army Corps of Engineers and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to complete stream improvements in the town stretch between Little Toots Park and the ambulance barn that are called for in the formal Yampa River plan.

Those projects will be undertaken in consultation with Parks and Wildlife fisheries biologist Billy Atkinson to ensure they are trout friendly, Jespersen said. One possibility is the creation of a partial wave structure to add interest to that stretch for floaters. It would not span the entire width of the river like the larger structures at the ambulance barn, Charlie's Hole and Depot Hole.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1