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Public Lands

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Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

Watermarks--Letter from the Editor

Putting out a publication is a sort of relay race.

The editorial committee works out the story budget, then hands it off to the editor who assigns stories to writers. The writers research, interview sources and compose, then send their stories back to the editor. After the editing and fact checking, it goes to the designer, then the printer and out to readers. Race over. Until the next issue.

For this issue of Headwaters, we streamlined the process, but expanded the story budget. When the writers began to report in, after they'd talked to contacts and gathered their initial information, we found there was much more to the Arkansas River's story than we'd imagined.

Peter Roessmann discovers the Arkansas is more than an excellent trout route or exciting place to whitewater raft. Lisa Everitt details the efforts of six groups in central Colorado who negotiated middle ground instead of tangling themselves up in litigation. Karla Demmler explains the history behind a long argument over Fountain Creek. And I found two interrelated groups working to preserve a way of life in the Lower Arkansas Valley.

The Arkansas is 1,450 miles long—roughly the same length as the Colorado River—and is a major Mississippi River tributary. The river was claimed by Spanish explorers in the mid 1500s, ceded to France, transferred back to Spain and again to France before Napolean sold the river's basin as part of the Louisiana Purchase. He needed cash for a war. For more than 25 years, the Arkansas was the border between the United States and Mexico. The list of 17th century explorers who followed her path includes Coronado, de Soto, Marquette and Pike, and she was a trade route for the native Utes. Three hundred thirty seven miles of the Trail of Tears was on the Arkansas. The river was part of the Santa Fe Trail, a guide to the way west.

She begins her journey near Leadville, in the Sawatch Range. She winds through the Royal Gorge she carved before she slips east, to the plains. Over her course, she will drop more than 11,000 feet in elevation—almost half of them in its first 125 miles —before joining the Mississippi. Irrigation slows her to a trickle before the Arkansas becomes a braided prairie river in Kansas, but below Tulsa, Okla., she's a navigable waterway.

We don't have the space to elaborate on everything we found interesting—the generations who've explored and depended on the Arkansas, the farming and ranching, the fishing, the bird watching, the hunting, the wildlife, the lore, the tributaries, the compacts.

But we will offer you a snapshot of the river's journey through her home state.

Now we're handing it off to you.

Lori Ozzello

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