DEL NORTE — On Sept. 12 the US Army Corps of Engineers issued a 404 permit to the Town of Del Norte and Del Norte Trails Organization allowing the Del Norte Riverfront Project to begin construction. This culminates years of work, public processes and permitting requirements required to make any changes on or near an American waterway.
The 404 Permit will cover the construction of river improvements and recreation infrastructure on the Rio Grande next to Colorado Highway 112 that are central to the Del Norte Riverfront Project, including development on the north side of the river across from the existing town park. These elements are part of Phase 1, which is nearly fully funded and includes construction of a new boat ramp with ample parking and turn around space, a picnic area with a pavilion, pedestrian river access on the south side of the river, bank restoration and revegetation work, improved trout habitat, and a boating play wave feature that includes a fish ladder for passage upstream.
Ground will be broken this fall to begin construction on the boat ramp and parking lot while the last funds are acquired for the other elements.
Future phases of the project will include improvements to the existing park on the south side of the Rio Grande. These improvements include new and improved sheltered picnic areas, a nature play area for children, and an amphitheater for public entertainment and events. A new vault toilet facility is planned on the north side of the river.
The public and partners have been fundraising for a long time and will continue to do so until the projects components are completed. Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, Trout Unlimited, Town of Del Norte, Riverbend Engineering, and Del Norte Trails Organization have worked in cooperation to bring this project to the point of construction.
In addition to all the obvious benefits provided by the design elements of the project, the ability to physically connect the people of the valley to the Rio Grande is the biggest accomplishment. The Rio Grande is and has always been the life blood of the Valley, and now families will be able to touch and enjoy it together.