Restoring Rivers with Can'd Aid


This summer, Colorado Trout Unlimited teamed up with Can’d Aid to help restore rivers in Colorado. Can’d Aid is a nonprofit organization that was founded as an immediate response to the massive flooding that devastated the towns of Lyons & Longmont, CO, in September 2013. Since then, the organization has been helping spread people powered do-goodery when and where it is needed most.

On July 13, volunteers generously came out to help restore a section of the Gore Creek in Vail, CO. This river has seen some hard times and have been labeled unhealthy since 2004. To help this river on it’s path to recovery, volunteers planted willows and lodgepole pines to anchor the heavily eroded riverbeds. This effort will protect the river from further erosion while also improving the habitat for fish and other wildlife. Colorado Trout Unlimited is proud to have partnered up with Can’d Aid, River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow, Eagle Valley TU, and the City of Vail to make this a successful day!

Can’d Aid projects like this are supported through  Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water, which donates $1/case sold.

Did you know that you can replant a willow tree simply by cutting a branch and sticking it in the ground? They’re hearty plants that provide protection for riverbank erosion while also lending much-needed shade to fish and wildlife.
— Can'd Aid

On July 20, 2019, volunteers gathered at the Gunnison River to monitor last year’s progress and continue their work to help restore habitat in the Basin. Volunteers floated to the 2018 work site and found many of the willows that were planted the previous year growing strong - despite the severe drought in 2018 and high Spring flows in 2019. This was a promising sight to see the volunteer work was taking root!

Small but mighty: A patriotic super volunteer!

Small but mighty: A patriotic super volunteer!

Restoration work in 2019 took place beyond the banks of the Gunnison River. 25 volunteers spent the day building "one rock damns" in Dutch Gulch. These mulch damns slow the flow of water, prevent erosion and reconnect gullies to flood plains.

Ultimately, they trap sediment and extend flows in low water years - promoting long-term river health and grazing for deer, elk and the threatened Gunnison Sage Grouse! 

After a morning of intensive rock work, the group got on the river once again to celebrate a job well done.

Check out more pictures on the Can’d Aid facebook post here. Also, CBS 4 News shared a video of the day, see below!

The group from Can'd Aid Foundation worked to prevent erosion.

Thank you to all the people and organizations that volunteer their time to protect rivers in Colorado. Your efforts are crucial to the places we love to play, float, hike and fish!

Please follow and support our collaborative partners below!


Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park, California

Guest blog by Catherine Belme

When I moved into my @vanforpublicland and drove off on the open road last fall, it was to fuel my soul and better connect with and get to know the land I call home. It’s so much more than that though. I have the deepest, most passionate feelings for this land, for the rivers and plants and animals that inhabit it with us. We are creatures of the wild, somewhere along the lines domesticating ourselves a little too much, in my opinion. I strongly believe all of us have a primal connection to the outdoors, the wild. Some of us just may never have had the chance to explore that yet, and others may have forgotten or suppressed it while caught up in modern life. I want to change that.

Kings Canyon National Park, California

Kings Canyon National Park, California

I strongly, strongly believe that interacting with nature heals the body and soul, grounds us, helps us understand life and get a grip on what actually matters and why, gives us fuel and a deep sense of fulfillment. I want to share the feelings I get when in the outdoors with as many as possible. For these feelings – they’re the first step in developing a lasting relationship. The way I see it, there’s something in the outdoors for everyone, and once found it leads to an appreciation for and love of the environment. Once that foundation is laid, people begin feeling passionate about the wild spaces in their lives, and with that comes a reason to protect these places. Our public lands are threatened every day, not just by humans mistreating them but also by our government and special interest groups. Now, more than ever, there is no guarantee these last wild places will remain protected for future generations to enjoy.

Monahans Sand Hills State Park

Monahans Sand Hills State Park

Bears Ears National Monument

Bears Ears National Monument

Monahans Sand Hills State Park

Monahans Sand Hills State Park

I set out on the road to see as much of our nation’s public lands as possible, with the intent of sharing their largely unrealized beauty and power with others, and to meet with and share the stories of as many folks in the outdoors as I can.
Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

My hope is that through sharing these stories, others will find someone they can relate to and thus be inspired to engage in the outdoor world. Over time, they’ll get the same wonderful feelings as the rest of the outdoorsy community, feel empowered, and find a reason to protect these spaces. Then, in my wildest fantasy, everyone will fight for conservation and know how to responsibly interact with nature. From exposure to experience to connection to conservation, bam! We all will be out there taking a stand for public land.

Along my journey I have met some of the most interesting and kind people, and witnessed first hand so much lost culture and raw natural beauty. My first stop was to link up with a couple who live on the road with their pup and have fallen in love with Bears Ears National Monument and the surrounding areas. I’ve driven through Utah on trips between Colorado and southern California several times before, but never even realized how much public land is there, and how amazing the topography and rich history of these places is! We drove around the land within the old Bears Ears border, stopping to look at Native American artifacts, kivas, and petroglyphs. The area is sacred to several tribes, and incredibly rich in cultural history. (In case you aren’t aware – last December President Trump announced a reduction in size of Bears Ears National Monument by a staggering 85%; a real blow to The Antiquities Act, outdoor enthusiasts, and especially to Native peoples, to say the least.)

I have really fallen for southern and eastern Utah from my travels, though! Cyanobacteria, lichens, and mosses form a crust over the earth called cryptobiotic soil – it’s very alive and very fragile so you must be careful not to tread on it, but it is so interesting to look at and unlike any other soil I’ve ever seen. The ground is red, and at first glance may seem barren, but when looking deeper you’ll find that’s not the case at all. Buttes, canyons, rivers, and dry creek beds make for a drastic landscape. At dusk and dawn the air is alive with the sounds of coyotes on the hunt. Skies are full of stars and, out there, a full moon lights up the landscape better than any flashlight could. Some of my favorite spots are the Bears Ears area, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Monument Valley, and the area surrounding Moab.

At dusk and dawn the air is alive with the sounds of coyotes on the hunt. Skies are full of stars and, out there, a full moon lights up the landscape better than any flashlight could.
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

My absolute favorite spots in terms of raw beauty that I have traveled so far have been sand dunes. There’s just something about an endless stretch of hills of sand at sunset that makes all the grains getting in my clothes, food, and all over the van totally worth it. White Sands National Monument is in southern New Mexico and is known for it’s sprawling dunes of, you guessed it, white sand. It almost looks like snow at times, and makes for incredibly high likelihood of getting a sunburn. Bring the kids for a sledding trip, or get to the visitors’ center early and reserve a backpacking campsite. My partner met me in El Paso and we spent a day and night at the dunes, I can assure you that sunset is nothing short of magical. My other favorites dunes were at Monahans Sandhills State Park in Texas. The state park is a bit smaller, but they have a good amount of campsites that you can drive right up to, as well as a day-use area. Unfortunately, someone discovered that the area is great for fracking, so there are a ton of extraction sites going up all around the park and some are visible from the sandhills. Definitely still worth a visit though!

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Down in Texas I visited Big Bend National Park. Big Bend lies on the Rio Grande, at the border of Texas and Mexico. Across the border the land is preserved by two national parks as well, so add that to the fact that Big Bend is way off the beaten path, and it makes for an extremely well conserved area. Big Bend is where I learned about riparian areas – it’s the native plants and trees surrounding a waterway to help stabilize the banks, shade the water to keep it cool, and filter the soil, to put it briefly. The park may as well be three parks in one, actually. The eastern part is right on the Rio Grande and has a lush riparian zone as well as natural hot springs and a slot canyon. The central area is the Chisos Basin and Chisos Mountains – where you may encounter bears while hiking the mountainside or javelina at your campsite. The mountains are beautiful and have trails leading along the ridge of the canyon, where you can see the Rio Grande below. I met a kind artist from Austin and camped with her in the Chisos, photographing her painting process and chatting all evening long. To the western side is Santa Elena Canyon and a few desert hikes. I saw several kayakers here as well, and I believe you can even float the river from that area. Beyond that is a dirt road that it seems not too many drive down, which is a shame. The views are spectacular and it is rich with historical sites as well. While exploring the west side I met an older gentleman named Terry who has lived out of his little sedan for a few years and camps at National Parks every night. He was delightful to talk to and I cannot wait to get ahold of him again for a feature in my project. I can only hope my retirement is half as adventure filled as his. I also befriended a family with a few daughters who was finishing up a spring break road trip. The parents were amped to meet a woman traveling solo and enjoying the outdoors, as they have intentionally raised their daughters in the outdoors and taught them to be daring and self sufficient. I thought that was so neat, and I am so excited for those girls to grow up and keep up their passion for nature.

After the southwest, I traveled up the Pacific coast to meet up with some folks in Olympic National Park. They’re a young couple living full time in an RV in the city, working in the city, and getting out of town every weekend they can to go camping. They even had an RV cat that they put on a leash and let wander around the campsite! How funny is that! Oh my gosh though – Olympic National Park is gorgeous. The lush rainforest (I didn’t realize we had a rainforest in the US until I visited up there), the rivers, the lakes, the mountains, and the seashore – all amazing. We only spent two nights together, so I definitely am due back for further exploration – but one night we camped in the Hoh Rainforest and the other at Kalaloch Beach campground. The Hoh is filled with towering trees, greens of every shade blanket the landscape, and the Hoh River cuts right through it. I hear it’s a great spot to fly fish, and that if you’re there at the right time of year you can see and hear the Roosevelt Elk bugling to each other. Over at the beach was also nice, however completely different. There’s a big cliff with a few trails leading down to a beach that seems to go on forever along the coast, and the tide goes out pretty far so it is wide too. The friends I met in Olympic used to be campsite hosts at the Hoh Campground, and currently are ambassadors for a trail clean up program. They have such a deep connection to the park after living there for a season and looking after the rainforest. Told you I’ve been meeting and collecting stories from the most interesting people!

Navajo Nation, Arizona

Navajo Nation, Arizona

Our country has so much to offer, so many beautiful places, so many hidden gems.

It’s been about a year, and I can promise you I am nowhere near done with this project. Our country has so much to offer, so many beautiful places, so many hidden gems. It’s almost a catch-22: the less human traffic in these places the more wild, serene, and awe-striking they tend to be, however, that also means the less people who have an understanding of the land and why it needs to be protected – which often leads to lands being leased, sold, developed, mined, fracked, etc. and the majority of our country being none-the-wiser. I am working at a conservation district in eastern Washington for now, learning and doing all I can to restore the land. I’ll be continuing my #standforpublicland project as a weekend warrior, visiting and learning all about new places to share with others, sharing stories of those I meet out enjoying the great outdoors, and helping to spread responsible practices for interacting with Mother Nature. To celebrate National Public Lands day (September 22, 2018) I’ll be hiking through Palouse Falls State Park and some other areas in the Palouse region, getting to know my new home better and see all of its beauty! I hope to hear you’re out doing whatever it is you love to do most in the outdoors! Just please always remember to practice leave no trace ethics, welcome others into the outdoors, and leave each place better than you found it. I’d love for you to join my quest for public lands conservation, and please feel free to get in touch so I can share your stories to help inspire others!

Snake River, Idaho

Snake River, Idaho

A note from CTU:

Learn more about National Public Lands Day here.

See who else is celebrating and find an event near you!

The fourth Saturday of each September marks National Public Lands Day. This September 22, 2018 we are reminded what makes our public lands great and because of that, all National Parks are free on that day. We want to thank Catherine for sharing her story and perspective on public lands and invite you to celebrate these beautiful places. Currently, we are trying to urge Congress to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund which has been key in establishing, conserving, and protecting some of your favorite places in Colorado such as the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Mesa Verde, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The fund is expiring soon, but you can speak up!

Clean up on aisle...river!

This September, volunteers around Colorado are getting outside and making a difference for their local waters! Thank you to everyone who has participated in a local river cleanup - your work is important and is not only making our rivers more beautiful, but healthier as well! Check out the great work that has been done and be sure to sign up for our next one on October 6th on the South Platte in celebration of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.


September 8, 2018 - Press Release

Contact: Nick Noesen, President of EVTU

Eagle Valley Trout Unlimited had an amazing day participating in the annual Eagle River Clean-up on September 8th. We were a strong group of 19 volunteers young and old. 35 trash bags full of river trash were hauled up to the road to be taken to the landfill. Several Tires and large items as well were removed from the river corridor. For the past 9 years Eagle Valley trout Unlimited has cleaned the same 2 miles of the Eagle River in the town of Eagle. This was a particularly good year for a clean up due to the low water flows. This project along with the Highway Cleanup in the spring makes a monumental impact on keeping our rivers clean and beautiful.


September 15, 2018


Trout Unlimited chapters along with volunteers across Colorado teamed up to cleanup Clear Creek near the Idaho Springs area - a popular location for anglers and recreationalists. West Denver Trout Unlimited, Cutthroat Trout Unlimited, and Cherry Creek Trout Unlimited came together with around 55 volunteers, (a record turnout!), to hike along Clear Creek and collect trash. Nestle brought in about 20 volunteers as well, donated water for everyone, and contributed to the raffle that was held later on. Overall, the event was a great success!

Are you feeling inspired to volunteer?

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by giving back to a river!

The Pike National Forest Service, Colorado Trout Unlimited, Coalition for the Upper South Platte, and the Denver Water Board are coming together on a group effort to help clean up the South Platte River in the Deckers area. While the South Platte is not officially designated as a Wild and Scenic River, it was deemed "eligible" under the Act and has been protected by the local South Platte Protection Plan for more than 15 years.  The purpose of the South Platte Protection Plan is to protect the river's outstandingly remarkable values - fishery, cultural, geologic, recreation, scenic and wildlife resources.

The river clean-up event will take place October 6, 2018, from 9am to 3pm, with volunteers meeting at the Deckers Store. Bring your friends and family along and enjoy a great day on one of Colorado’s outstanding rivers – and perhaps bring along your fishing equipment to wet a line once the work is done! Click below to learn more and/or to sign up!

Greenback Spawning at Zimmerman Lake - Success!

FORT COLLINS, CO – It was still dark out when I threw the thermos of coffee into the truck and left Denver for the Zimmerman Lake Trailhead just east of Cameron Pass.  The goal for the day was to join two other fellow TU volunteers and work alongside Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) biologists to help with Greenback Cutthroat spawning at the pristine high alpine lake. Since 2013, CPW and Colorado Trout Unlimited have worked together to establish a population of Greenback broodstock up at Zimmerman Lake that can be used to help populate other streams throughout the cutthroat’s native range.  The recent spawning project took place over four days and engaged a handful of CPW staff along with eight CTU volunteers from various Front Range Chapters.

The spawning process was pretty straightforward and designed by CPW staff to expand the genetic pool of Greenback Cutthroat Trout.  The pictures below highlight much of the process that took place over the four days.  A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers who came out to support this important recovery effort!

CPW set up at the Zimmerman Lake inlet to capture spawning Greenbacks.

Fish were collected with a large net and put into a pen to be sorted and categorized by CPW staff and volunteers.


Fish were sorted based on their gender and stocking year.

RFID chips in the fish help to identify the stocking year and other critical data.

After the fish were sorted, CPW milked the males and females - making targeted genetic crosses among the various lineages to expand the genetic diversity.  The eggs and sperm were combined in bowls, packed into small coolers, put on ice, and shipped to the local fish hatchery in Leadville, CO for breeding.

This process is a critical step in the long-term recovery of the native Greenback Cutthroat Trout.  CTU is proud of the great work that its volunteers provided during these long days up at the lake.  The work undertaken at Zimmerman will help ensure that future fishermen and women are able to chase these rare fish throughout the Front Range for decades to come.

For more information on the project or to get involved with other upcoming Greenback recovery projects, contact Dan Omasta, CTU Grassroots Coordinator (domasta@tu.org).

Fin Clipping Volunteer Opportunity!!

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS!! This is a very rare volunteer opportunity. Colorado Trout Unlimited and our chapters are partnering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to help with a long term study they have going studying Rainbow and Cutthroat Hybrid trout. No experience necessary, and we need more people!!

We will be in need of volunteers to help us fin clip rainbow X cutthroat hybrid trout at Mount Shavano Hatchery (Salida) for our ongoing study comparing diploid versus triploid trout at Elevenmile Reservoir.  This year we will be clipping fish August 30th – September 2nd and could use your help. You can come one day or the whole time!! Last year we clipped 68,000 fish in three days with the help of 70 people over the three day period.

All of the work will take place outside at the Mount Shavano Hatchery in Salida. Parking will be available at the visitor parking area on the hill before you enter into the hatchery.  We will plan on starting each day at 8 A.M. and should finish around 4:30 P.M.  Volunteers should bring the following:

  • Lunch
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Chairs
  • Sunshades if available

If you would like to help please contact Stephanie Scott at sscott@tu.org or 720-354-2647


SVATU Chili Night and Gear Swap

By: Danielle Adams SVATU Chili Night is Coming in February!

Did you buy too much at the fishing show and need to off load some neglected, under-used gear? Do you have old fishing equipment laying around taking up space? Is there new or used gear that you have been looking to add to your repertoire? Then the SVATU gear swap is for you, and you don’t want to miss it!

396725_127731590715852_355757329_nThe St. Vrain Anglers Chapter of Trout Unlimited is hosting a Chili Night, and first ever SVATU Gear Swap at 6:30 pm on Thursday February 18 at the American Legion. The event is still open for volunteers to bring their favorite chili! Please contact Mark Rayman (stvraintu@gmail.com) if you’d like to bring your award winning chili to share.


If you have equipment you want to sell or trade, pull your fishing gear and fly tying kits out while the weather is cold, decide what you no longer need, and bring it to Chili Night! There will be tables set up with ample space to display your gear, and help you convert it to something else. This is not fundraiser, and SVATU isn’t involved with any money, but it will be a great community event where you can meet new people, and learn more about the conservation, protection, and restoration efforts of the Saint Vrain Anglers Trout Unlimited chapter. Come be a gear-hound, and eat lots of scrumptious food!

Thursday February 18, 6:30pm – 9:30pm

American Legion

315 South Bowen Street,

Longmont, CO 80501



San Luis Valley Volunteer Opportunities and Events

Volunteering  Due to a partial rain delay on the last Hidden Mile workday, volunteers are needed once again to work with the US Forest Service to complete the fencing project on the Hidden Mile of the Conejos. There is one more workday scheduled for Wednesday, August 26th at 9 AM. Volunteers will assist in installing the floating fence on the upper crossing and two more wooden H braces on the lower section along with a few posts to complete it.

If you plan to come help please contact Marty Jones at the following phone number or email address. You may also contact Marty for more information.

Marty- Ph. 719-589-4327

Email - mbjones@adams.edu

To reach the Hidden Mile go west from Antonito on highway 17 about 21 miles to the Platoro Road (rd. 250). Turn right on Platoro Road and go about 4 miles. The new parking lot and gate will be on your left.

Tools will be provided. Please bring lunch and water, and wear work clothes, work gloves, sturdy boots, waders, sunscreen, and safety glasses.

Many thanks to the volunteers that helped out last Monday.

The installations of metal H braces on the upper and lower river crossings have been completed, as well as the installation of the floating fence on the lower crossing. All that's left is stringing the upper fence and installing a couple of wood H braces on the lower fence.

Saturday, August 29th is another volunteer opportunity. At 9:30 AM in the Coller Wildlife Area there will be a fall river and highway cleanup. This year the volunteers will do a cleanup along the river as well as the highway. Trash bags and gloves will be available and a most excellent lunch and drinks will be provided. Meet at the usual spot at the big pull-out on the highway about four miles north of South Fork on the way to Creede in the Coller Wildlife Area.


On Saturday, August 22nd the San Luis Valley chapter is hosting a welcome back picnic and casting challenge in Del Norte Town Park. Festivities begin at 11:30 AM.

The chapter will provide grilled meats and soft drinks. Last names ending in A-H can bring salads, last names ending in I-O please bring appetizers and last names ending in P-Z should show up with deserts. Or... Just show up because there will be plenty of food!

Bring your favorite fly rod as there will be casting contests with excellent prizes for both distance and accuracy!

The SLV chapter thanks you for your help!


CTU Presents: Behind the Fin

Everyone has a story to tell and now it’s time to tell yours. Colorado Trout Unlimited is bringing members a new online blog segment entitled “Behind the Fin,” a spotlight on a member of Trout Unlimited. Behind the Fin will take a deeper look into the personalities that make up Colorado Trout Unlimited and expose those responsible for all of the great work we’ve done together. Many projects have been completed to save water resources and restore fisheries in Colorado and now it’s time to recognize the volunteers who make it happen.

Fraser troutRiverstock

With help from the staff of CTU, members will be highlighted in an article on the CTU website that will recognize their achievements both within and outside the trout world. Behind the Fin will be a great way for fellow members to get to know each other better and enhance the member community.

To be highlighted, it’s as easy as answering a few questions. Some include:

  • How long have you been a TU member?
  • Why did you become a member?
  • What is your favorite activity or project that you have done with TU?
  • What is a favorite fishing spot and favorite fishing story?
  • To you, what is the best tactic or fly for catching trout?
  • Beyond being an awesome angler, what else do you do in your spare time or for work?

Using these answers and some other basic information, CTU will help write an article that can be shared and highlighted on the Colorado Trout Unlimited website – telling your story around the world.

If you’re interested in sharing your story with CTU and its members, or you know of someone who you think should tell their story, please submit any inquiries to Stephanie Scott at SScott@tu.org.

CTU New Leaders Training Registration is Now Open!!

In Colorado there are 24 local Trout Unlimited chapters that are an essential piece to Trout Unlimted's mission of conserving cold water fisheries. Every chapter has its own leadership board, programs, dedicated volunteers and most of the time they raise their own money for operations. Running a chapter is extremely rewarding, but it can also be challenging. To help Colorado chapters be most effective, Colorado Trout Unlimited hosts an annual New Leaders Training for chapter leaders. This training is for both new and old chapter leaders who are eager to learn how to be more effective leaders and build stronger chapters. The New Leaders Training Weekend will have numerous trainings, networking opportunities, and each attendee will walk away with resources to help their chapter reach its full potential. The Colorado Trout Unlimited Council's Fall board meeting is also held this same weekend in between training sessions. All participants are encouraged to attend the board meeting to become more familiar with the council and what their responsibilities are in Colorado.

Registration for the full weekend is $70.00; however to show our appreciation for new participants all first time attendees get their registration fees waived. To show our appreciation even more, this year Colorado Trout Unlimited is also providing a $100 scholarship for the first 10 chapters to have a first time leader attend to help with travel expenses.

Please contact Stephanie Scott (sscott@tu.org) or 720-354-2647 to apply for one of the scholarships or for general questions about the training.

Follow this link to register for the New Leaders Training: Register Here

Registration Deadline is October 13, 2014.



SANTA RITA PARK  (Gazebo next to the Chamber of Commerce) Please join TROUT UNLIMITED/FIVE RIVERS CHAPTER in cleaning up the Animas River!  Every September we reach out and ask volunteers to join us and pick up trash along the beautiful Animas River.  We’ll hand out garbage bags and give everyone a specific area to collect trash. This casual event last only a few hours.

Questions call: 970.759.5877