New Heritage Trail Connects Sites Throughout the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, Starting with Poudre River Whitewater Park | Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area

New Heritage Trail Connects Sites Throughout the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, Starting with Poudre River Whitewater Park

By June 29, 2020News

(Pictured: Bikers on the Poudre River Trail ride past the new Heritage Trail Gateway located at the Poudre River Whitewater Park in Fort Collins, Colorado.)

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), managing nonprofit of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA), is excited to announce the recent installation of the first marker and gateway of their new Heritage Trail. The marker and gateway are located at the Poudre River Whitewater Park in Old Town Fort Collins.

The Heritage Trail incorporates a coordinated family of interpretive signs, markers and gateways that will be used throughout the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, drawing attention to and educating trail users about interesting and ingenious ways that humans have interacted and worked with the Poudre River to improve life on the high plains of Colorado. The Heritage Trail will highlight six main themes related to water and the Poudre River: Water for Agriculture, Water for Industry, Water for Recreation, Water for History, Water for Education, and Water for Nature.

The Heritage Trail program will also serve to connect town sites and neighborhoods, businesses, historic structures, natural areas, and recreational opportunities, such as the Whitewater Park, that are within or adjacent to the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. The CALA extends 45 miles through Larimer and Weld counties, and through towns and cities such as Bellvue, Fort Collins, Windsor, Timnath and Greeley.

poudre whitewater park

The new Heritage Trail marker at the whitewater park speaks to the history of the Coy Ditch and Diversion Structure and how it relates to water for agriculture, recreation and industry.

This first Heritage Trail marker and gateway, located at the Poudre River Whitewater Park, speak to the history and importance of the Coy Ditch headgate and diversion structure, which led to the first in-channel water right in Colorado. This type of water right supports “in-channel” river recreation, such as kayaking, as a beneficial use within Colorado’s Doctrine of Prior Appropriations. The site is also important to the history of Water for Agriculture and Water for Industry, with the CSU Powerhouse overlooking the park and the Coy headgate still intact. The marker and gateway include QR codes connecting visitors to additional online resources about these sites.

The Poudre Heritage Alliance worked closely with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), who helped to fund the project as part of their 5-year investment plan (2016-2020). In addition, PHA worked with the City of Fort Collins Parks & Planning and Art in Public Places (APP) departments to design and install this first Heritage Trail Gateway (located on the south side of the bridge across from the wave shelter) and second, smaller informational marker (located on the north side of the bridge).