Saturday, January 26, 2008

Do We Care if it's Real?

I have written about the artificial whitewater parks in the past. Do they keep us away from nature? I think not.

While the real thing is the best, who's to say the parks aren't getting us out there?

Here's a new essay in Paddler.

In contrast, there has been a concerted movement among whitewater aficionados and economic developers to create play waves, rapids, and even entire circular whitewater rivers run by pumps. The goal here is different; it is to maximize our fun by changing the river—or even creating an artificial river—to suit our desires. There are many arguments pro and con. Some assert these changes will bring kayaking tourists to mountain towns or fill a need in places where there is no river or whitewater. The parks would help people hone their skills and introduce a huge number of spectators to a sport they’d otherwise never see. Plus, if we have the power to do it, why not maximize our fun?