The snow is still falling in the San Juan Mountains, but within weeks snowmelt will be swelling the Uncompahgre River and its tributaries. The river that runs through Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose, Olathe and Delta will reach its maximum flows between May and July. And this year, the person who comes closest to predicting the date and time of the Uncompahgre River’s peak flow will win a prize package worth $1,228, if they enter the inaugural Uncompahgre River Classic.
To raise money to fund its watershed protection activities, the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership (UWP) launched the Uncompahgre River Classic in March. Until May 10, peak flow prediction entry forms can be purchased for $5 per prediction or $20 for six predictions. Then, the peak flow is expected to happen between May 11 and July 10, based on the last 10 years of data, so the winning entry will be announced on July 11.
“We are surrounded by opportunities to enjoy the offerings of our watershed, in an area which boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the world,” said Uncompahgre River Classic Coordinator Pamela Cannalte. “The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership’s mission is to protect our watershed’s high-quality natural, scenic and economic values, which are critical for our community, through monitoring, education and restoration. The plants and animals surrounding the river and canyons would not thrive and be as beautiful as they are if our rivers are unhealthy.”
Besides fundraising, the purpose of the contest is to educate people about the river’s seasonal changes. UWP usually holds the Ridgway RiverFest to raise money and awareness about watershed issues and celebrate the Uncompahgre River at the end of June, but the 2021 festival has been postponed to August 28.
The winner of the Uncompahgre River Classic will receive a grand prize package with a Ouray Via Ferrata experience for up to four people guided by Basecamp Ouray ($700 value), a two-night stay at Ridgway Lodge & Suites ($428 value), and a $100 gift certificate for dinner at Four Corners Restaurant & Sky Bar in Chipeta Solar Springs Resort. The second prize winner will receive a Patagonia 40L Duffel Bag from RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service ($129 value), and the third prize winner will receive four soaking passes to Orvis Hot Springs ($88 value).
“Our river faces threats of many kinds, from development and pollution to climate change and drought. For those who think that small actions in supporting our nonprofit won’t make a difference, think again! By purchasing an entry into our fundraiser, the Uncompahgre River Classic, you will join us to collectively and positively improve the health of our river,” explained Cannalte. Information and registration for the Uncompahgre River Classic is at https://www.uncompahgrewatershed.org/2021-uncompahgre-river-classic/.