Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument

Denying Park Dams Put Power in Rapids

August 18, 2008, 2:01 pm
If former Colorado congressman Wayne Aspinall and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation had gotten their way, the Yampa River's Warm Springs Rapids never would have been born. In the early 1950s, Aspinall was among those supporting the bureau's powerful push for a pair of hydro-electric dams on the Green River within Dinosaur National Monument. The larger of the two — proposed just downstream of the Green-Yampa confluence at Echo Park — was considered the wheelhorse of the Upper Colorado River Storage Project that would have buried the site where Warm Springs Rapids formed in 1965 under several hundred feet of water. Likewise, the Green River rapids would have disappeared, along with countless natural and cultural treasures that earned the surrounding 210,000 acres designation as a national monument via presidential proclamation in 1938.