The Fryingpan-Arkansas River Project at 50

By George Sibley

Part I: The “Political Infrastructure” for Trans-mountain Diversion

Driving down U.S. 24 from Leadville to Buena Vista, along the Arkansas River that carved the valley, you don’t have the feeling of traveling past a man-made waterworks. It is in fact a beautiful stretch of river that looks quite “natural.”

You have to know what you are looking for to see the waterworks – for example, between Granite and Buena Vista, looking up on the hillsides across the river, you’ll see a barnlike industrial structure – a pumping plant, pulling water from the river and pushing it through the mountains to another natural-looking waterworks across Trout Creek Pass, in the South Platte River tributaries.

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