San Isabel partners to offer free screening of Arkansas River documentary

San Isabel Land Protection Trust and the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District invite you to a special screening of a new documentary, "The Arkansas River: From Leadville to Lamar."


The screening will be at 6:30 p.m. June 20 at the Historic Jones Theater, 409 Main Street, in Westcliffe. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Arkansas River in Colorado is one of the hardest working rivers in the lower 48 states. Myriad users, including municipalities, farmers and recreational users, all depend on the water collected from the river's 28,000-square-mile basin, the largest river basin in Colorado. The Arkansas originates in the snowmelt on the Continental Divide near Leadville and drops nearly 10,000 feet as it courses more than 300 miles to the state line.

Samuel Ebersole, a professor at Colorado State University-Pueblo, directed and produced the hour-long documentary, in partnership with the Arkansas River Basin Roundtable. Ebersole explores the river from its headwaters near Leadville to the plains near the Kansas border. The documentary sheds light on the many ways we all depend on the Arkansas River.

"Custer County is an important part of the Arkansas River basin," Ebersole said. "Local residents should be concerned about the health of the river and the efforts being made to ensure that recreational users, agricultural users and municipal users can share this precious resource is a way that honors and protects established rights and future needs."

"Everything we do from the moment we wake until we close our eyes at night, depends on the availaibilityof clean water," he continued. "I hope this documentary will help us to better appreciate the many ways we're all affected by the health of our river and the watershed."

Following the screening, a panel will discuss the documentary and answer your questions. Ebersole will be joined by Blake Osborn, southern Colorado water resources specialist with the Colorado Water Institute and Colorado State University Cooperative Extension; Jerry Livengood, local Division of Water Resources Water commissioner; Keith Hood, area rancher and a member of the Arkansas River Basin Roundtable; and moderator Chelsey Nutter of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District. Osborn and Hood also are members of San Isabel’s board of directors. To view the documentary trailer, go to

San Isabel, a nationally accredited 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, works with landowners to protect and care for land and water in Huerfano, Custer, Fremont and Pueblo counties. The land trust aims to ensure the region remains a beautiful and wild landscape with a strong agricultural foundation and a vibrant, healthy community. To learn more or to donate to this important work, go to

The Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District was founded in 1979 by a group of visionary water users, irrigators and leaders to protect and secure water in the Upper Arkansas Valley.Its service area covers more than 3,000 square miles and includes Custer, Chaffee and Fremont counties, as well as a small portion of Saguache and El Paso Counties. For more information, go to


Janet Smith

Posted in News


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