Main Acreage Acquisition Adds to Conservancy’s River Channel Project

Lake Fork Valley Conservancy reached an important milestone earlier this year with acquisition of a 2.3-acre tract of streamside property to the immediate north of the Ball Flats Bridge.
The property — the first to be deeded to the organization since its creation in 1998 — was acquired from the Peter M. Main Estate through its executor, Cindy Main Bauer, and is a key element within the recently completed river restoration work and planned public park along the Lake Fork to the north of Lake City.
According to Lake Fork Conservancy Executive Director Camille Richard, the former Main property acquired by the conservancy consists of all lots in Block 4, together with Lots 31 and 32 in Block 13, just north of the Ball Flats Bridge. Lake Fork Conservancy through its contractor, Gene Brown of WebCo Excavation, completed extensive river restoration in the area last fall. Lake Fork Conservancy will now work with Town of Lake City on plans for a public park in the area which will be named in recognition of the late Pete Main.
Main was a long-term Lake City resident and pottery artisan who died in December, 2015. Lake Fork Valley Conservancy Vice President Lyn Lampert says that prior to his death, Main often shared his vision for his riverfront property becoming available for public use.
“He would frequently grab a cup of coffee in the morning and just sit by the river, communing with the natural world and his Heavenly Father,” says Lampert. “I believe Pete would love it that the land along the river is now open for many others to enjoy it as much as he did.”
Discussions with Main began in 2009, Camille Richard says, and were continued up until its sale to the Conservancy on February 9 this year by Main’s daughter, Cindy Bauer, from her home in Seattle, Washington.
Richard terms Bauer “very generous” and a “joy to work with.”
The 2.3-acre tract was acquired for $165,000, the bulk of which — respectively $70,000 and $60,000 — came from grants awarded to Lake Fork Valley Conservancy by Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District and the Gates Family Foundation.
$10,000 in funds toward the purchase price was contributed by family members of the late Mark Evans, and $5,000 from the Hemle Shaw Foundation, with an additional $30,000 yet to be raised through fundraising efforts to pay off the promissiory note, cover transaction fees associated with the real estate transaction, and park development costs.
As previously reported (WORLD, October 21, 2016), Lake Fork Valley Conservancy expended slightly over $500,000 during the extensive river corridor restoration work which extended through early November last fall. Brown’s WebCo and his crew realigned the badly erroding Lake Fork River channel to the north of Ball Flats Bridge.
Work entailed returning that section of the river channel to a more natural configuration with meandering river and gently sloped floodplane. The floodplane on either side of the river was stabilized with sills constructed from massive granite boulders which run perpendicular from the river to the hill on the west side, together with in-stream boulder configurations — referred to vanes, cross-vanes and J-hooks — which slow and redirect the water flow.
The process returns the river channel to a closer resemblance to its original appearance, redirecting the water flow to the center of the channel, eliminating eroding river banks, and creating inviting eddies for fish.
Further stabilization in the area was completed in early April as Wally Hayes excavated holes up to 10’-deep in the floodplane area. FFC Fencing was contractor as over 100 cottonwood and willow cuttings were planted. The cuttings — termed “poles” by Richard — extended deep down into the floodplane in order to reach ground water. As the cuttings mature and thrive, the new vegetation will further stabilize the streambank and floodplane and gradually return the area to an appearance close to its original appearance.
Further plantings are planned this fall with a combination of native grass and flower seeds which will be planted in the parklands area.
The envisioned river park will hopefully expand as negotiations continue for the donation of an additional 1.4-acre tract abutting the former Main property to the north. The tract, located on the west side of the Lake Fork (see map), is owned by Silver River Estates comprised of Paul Hudgeons, Rob Hudgeons, Bob Fielder and Herb Marchman.