Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bought and sold-Christo’s crazy vision moves forward

Two leases approved by the BLM brush aside a few of the last hurdles standing in the way of Christo and his art project. Basically it’s a done deal. When I first read about crazy Christo and this whacked out vision of his, it seemed absolutely laughable. He could have picked many other places with far less fragile habitat but he seemed hell bent on draping crap over a 45-mile section of the Arkansas River in Colorado. Christo along with a few powerful friends from the east coast had meetings with various agencies such as Colorado Department of Natural Resources and it was clear that any and all concerns could be brushed aside with money.

Colorado’s DNR apparently is willing to sell out to the highest bidder and catering far more to people with money than should be tolerated. I could list at least 10 sections of other water that would suit this project far better than here. A few of these areas were brought to the table of discussion but Christo pretty much stuck with this area saying something like, “Naw. I am pretty set on @#$& up this spot.”

There are a lot of reasons why this location is one of the worst choices Christo could make. Drilling and setting up all of those cables is just the start. The narrow canyon will have a tough time accommodating a large volume of construction and traffic. I expect this to become a nightmare for motorists most of the time. Sadly the cool canyon cruise will be reduced to a stop and go lookie lou situation for quite a long period during both construction and as long as the project is up.

(Above: The red circles indicate proposed areas for the project. Christo will tell you it is only 6 accumulative miles affected. However the entire project will take place roughly over a 50-mile stretch of canyon.)

Not saying this project couldn’t have been built in Colorado and 50 million bucks in overall budget (which will most likely run over that amount like all projects do) is very hard to turn down in this economy. The boost of commerce to the region is a huge blessing for the community with revenues that they most likely wouldn’t see otherwise. Um, 26,000 for schools though is pretty lame compensation in my view but the increase in sales tax will help fund education in this area further. That is the silver lining here and it would admittedly be hypocritical of me to overlook this aspect. Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of good that will come out of this. It just stinks that some nutball from the east coast can come to Colorado and pretty much have his way with anything he wants as long as he has the money to placate. It’s not the worst thing that ever happened and heaven help the Arkansas if anything goes wrong. Like the goats and fish there is not much I can to do but ride this fiasco out.

In the meantime I’ll send a few e-mails and phone calls out asking for more in ways of fish remediation and habitat improvements. The only way I am going to feel better about this whole thing is if we kick this Christo guy so deep in the moneybags that he never does an art project around fish again.

Below are a few link references especially to the ROAR website. These folks have been centralizing the focus and putting up a great fight. There is a lot of information for those that want to read more.

Good luck and heaven help the Arkansas River


Cofisher said...

Just when my blood pressure starts to return to normal, up jumps the devil again. I believe that the state's estimates of money brought into the valley are highly inflated. I don't think people will be jetting from all over the state let alone the world to see this monstrosity. It may be a temporary boost to the economy but my bet is it does more harm than good in the long run. Let's call it "Christo's Folly!"

Shoreman said...

Unfortunately money talks and you're right, an influx of $$$$$ in this economy will far out weight the preservation of the river. It's sad......


Gary Thompson said...

This "project," it's history and it's future has absolutely made me sick to my stomach.

Priyanka said...

Hi :)
I've awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award! Please find more info at

Coloradocasters said...

@Cofisher: Christo’s Folly is a good term and far more catchy than what most in Colorado are calling it…@#$%! On the other hand I am seeing the few positives as we roll through this fiasco. The people that make deals to allow this will get some heat from that spotlight. Hopefully the locals take full advantage of this one time money shot and it helps all involved especially the Arkansas River who really didn’t have a voice in this. Now we just have to make sure he is the last one that ever tries something like this on a viable fishing stream.

@Shoreman: Tourism is something we deal with in Colorado like a dual edge sword. Some folks make their livelihood from tourism in one aspect or the other and it is indeed a business. Most tourist traveler folk are great people and we love sharing the beauty of this state with them. Heck, this is how we actually pay to protect the best parts of this natural landscape and that revenue is a crucial aspect of wildlife management overall. Nature used to be free once upon a time. Heck it pretty much did what it wanted. Now nature is damn expensive. One day I won’t be able to afford hanging out in it.

@Gary: The real anger may be yet to come as traffic snarls and the human craziness still has to play itself out. If one bulldover tips over and goes into the river spilling as much as a drop of gas or oil Christo better be prepared to write checks all day long. One guy told me that no man is above destroying themselves with their own arrogance. (A vision of Christo in a fetal position murmuring “why is nature so expensive?” still resonates in my mind).

This could have been a really cool project for Monte Christo. But like the crazy sandwich that bears his name it is too rich and popular for its own good. Leave it like you found it or don’t bother coming.