ROAR Bighorn Sheep Logo "Rags Over the Arkansas River" NO to Christo ROAR Colorado

To preserve and protect the headwaters of the Arkansas River, the Bighorn Sheep Canyon, its inhabitants and the communities that depend upon them.



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ROAR Issues NO to Christo Over the River
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Letters and Photos about Christo Over the River Project



Archive of Documents and Photos

Please note: Many of these documents include information which has been changed, updated, or deleted since they were written. Some data and analyses may no longer be valid. They are included here for historical reference in the development of "Over the River" as it's been continually reshaped by the scrutiny and requirements of formal opposition forces, EIS, permitting agencies.

The Original OTR Traffic Analysis Report

Find out what the construction and installation phases of Christo's plan mean should OTR be allowed to take place here. Whether you live and work in Fremont or Chaffee county, or you plan to visit the area for business or recreation, you'll find the traffic issues alone threaten the safety and economy of this part of the state. The data from Christo's own plan makes our case against this project.

Due to the large file size, the report has been divided into easily downloadable sections.
Note: You will need the free Adobe PDF reader.

The traffic analysis listed above is the complete technical report. For a less technical version, summary versions, presentations on specific impacts to area recreation, economy and more, we refer you to

SUMMARY and analysis of other key OTR issues. (In pdf format. You may download the free Adobe PDF reader here.

Note: if you have problems downloading any of our Word or PDF documents, click here.

ROAR's 2009 presentation to Front Range Regional Advisory Council

Letters | Documents | Photo Documentation

Letters and Documents

This page features some of the letters of concern that have been submitted to permitting agencies, published in area newspapers as Letters to the Editor (LTE), or printed in other published articles.

Every letter printed in full is published here with the consent of the author.
Click on the More... link to read the full text in a separate browser window.
Click on the Read Article link to read the full LTE or article.

Editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine: "Conceived in the early 1990s or before, Over the River is a conceptual and environmental dinosaur, a relic from the days when some land artists and designers aspired to create iconic art without regard to its environmental cost... Does anyone, even Christo, think that 5.9 miles of silvered fabric is anywhere near as beautiful as a free-flowing mountain river?" From "Land Matters" commentary "Should a River Run Under It?" by J. William "Bill" Thompson, FASLA, Editor of Landscape Architecture, April 2009 issue, page 15. Read Article.

Washington Post on OTR: "There's a sense that this kind of '70s-era "environmental art" has more links to heavy industry -- to old-fashioned well-drilling and dam-building -- or to industrial-scale tourism than to some more recent art that's been made with genuine ecological feeling." "Christo River Show Doesn't Float Everyone's Boat", By Blake Gopnik, Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, October 22, 2008.
Read Article | Read as pdf.

Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn's distant endorsement of OTR has spurred some reaction from local constituents:

First, Mr. Lamborn's endorsement was reported in the Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette, Pueblo Chieftain, Canon City Daily Record, Salida Mountain Mail.

LTE: Over the River is Out to Lunch- "Christo clearly forgot to tell Lamborn that it will take two years to build and one year to dismantle this project... Estimates are 25,600 cars per day for two weeks. This does not include the number of cars that will come before and after the two-week period... Do you really think with 25,600 cars a day rafting and fishing companies will even be able to operate? There is no way they will be able to drop off and pick up their clients with that kind of traffic. Fishermen will simply stay away from this area... Why in the world should a private individual be allowed to destroy the banks of a river for six miles with no practical purpose?.. This isn't about art. As always this is about money and greed." Joel Cline, Colorado Springs, CO Resident, Colorado Springs Gazette, 3/24/2009. Read Article (Scroll down) or read it here.

LTE: Did Lamborn meet with locals? - "Mr. Lamborn may have met with the artists in Washington, D.C., 2,000 miles from Colorado, but when did he meet with the people who live in Texas Creek, Cotopaxi, Coaldale, Howard, and Swissvale? When did he meet with the people who know, because they live here, why Christo's proposed project is not a good idea?" And, along with other authors, this writer points out the mistaken impression that "the artists themselves called for the EIS," when in truth it's "because the EIS is the next step legally required if they are to get what they want." Judith E. Hicks, Howard, CO Resident, Mountain Mail Newspaper, 4/3/2009. Read Article

LTE: Lamborn 'woefully misinformed' - "It concerns me one of our elected representatives would issue a press release that details their obvious lack of knowledge about an issue to which they vociferously lend support... The massive industrial assault Christo proposes to install the OTR project is inconsistent with values for which the Arkansas Canyonlands Environmental Concern was designated and inconsistent with BLM designated management for this area... By Christo's own reckoning, the Arkansas River Valley will accrue only 8 percent of the two-week economic benefits of the OTR project, while the same area will bear 100 percent of the negative economic and other impacts - environmental, safety, wildlife, way of life - through a three year period." Marshall Nichols, Howard, CO resident, Mountain Mail Newspaper, 3/31/2009. Read Full: Mountain Mail LTE. Colorado Springs Gazette LTE.

LTE: Has Lamborn Talked to Locals? - "He repeated the falsehood this project will take place in one summer. The plan Christo submitted ...will result in major disruptions to traffic on U.S. 50, an important transportation corridor for commerce, recreation and local residents. Congressman Lamborn apparently believes 1,100 drilling days, nearly a half-million people clogging a narrow canyon through two weeks and installation of nearly 9,000 anchors into the river edge using industrial-strength equipment are nothing but "challenges to the local community." Ellen T. Bauder, PhD - Plant Ecologist, Department of Biology, San Diego State University, resident Salida, CO. Mountain Mail Newspaper, 3/26/2009. Read Article.

Other documents:

Photos that document some of the objections to Christo's "Over the River" project

Colorado State Parks and BLM Informational Signs in Bighorn Sheep Canyon

Christo's Rifle Gap project.

Copper Gulch Road as an Alternate Route?

Environmental: Soil Disturbance Promotes Noxious Weeds



River Canyon Respect PropertyCanyon Information Signs

These photos show you some samples of the signs posted in the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) sites and BLM areas, most of which are in proposed OTR display areas. They point out the fragility of the riparian, wildlife and other environmental features, some notable historical remnants and necessary respect for private property.

The signs below are interactive - move your mouse over them for a closer look.

The bighorn sheep, which this canyon is named for, have developed into a very healthy population. They have especially thrived since the Railroad went out of use in the 1990's. The abandoned tracks across the river from car traffic and virtually all human access has provided a safe corridor for them. Canyon visitors love to watch these wild creatures.

Apparently the state and federal agencies who oversee this habitat endorse the care of these animals and their habitat, as evidenced by the agency insignias on the signs along the canyon.



Travel with Care in the River Canyon riparian habitatThe sign at right is at the west end of the Pinnacle Rock recreation area. It explains a bit about the riparian (riverside) habitat of the Bighorn Sheep Canyon. From grass to trees, insects to fish, birds to mammals, all are interdependent for survival. Human intervention does have an impact, and can be catastrophic!

If we are instructed to be so careful in this environment, how can an invasive, destructive project such as Christo's Over the River drapes even be considered here?

(Remember to roll your computer mouse over the sections of the sign to read each point listed.)

Below, the Kingfisher is one of the river inhabitants detailed on the "Travel with Care" sign.

Kingfisher Arkansas River Colorado