The Gold Medal reach is 102 miles long from the confluence with the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River, near Leadville, downstream to Parkdale at the Highway 50 bridge crossing above the Royal Gorge.Now Rags Over the River (ROAR), the group opposed to ze artiste Christo's "Over the River" plan to hang plastic sheeting over several miles of the river, is trying to use that Gold Medal designation to leverage a new environmental assessment.
The designation has been 20 years in the making, and although anglers have enjoyed the improved conditions for years, it is an official acknowledgement of the myriad efforts undertaken by state and federal agencies to turn an impaired river into one of the most popular fishing destinations in Colorado.
“Gold medal designation is an extremely high standard for any body of water to meet. The art project threatens to seriously affect the Arkansas River’s important and sensitive fishery and the ability of anglers to access the river,” [ROAR's Joan] Anzelmo said.Christo's people say otherwise. A lawsuit is still pending. Christo is 79, so one imagines certain actuarial calculations at work.