Colorado Floods – The Impact and How To Help

Opinion

Colorado Flooding

As many of you aware from the national and local news, the Colorado Front Range has been hammered with unprecedented amounts of rain this past Wednesday and Thursday, and it especially dealt a heavy blow to the Boulder, Longmont, Lyons and Fort Collins areas, and to a lessor extent to parts of Colorado Springs. Terms such as biblical and a 500 year flood has been used to describe the devastation. Up to 15 inches of rain fell over the Front Range this week, causing rivers and creeks to overflow their banks and inundate everything in their path. So much water saturated the ground that massive mudslides, rockslides, and sinkholes occurred. Walls of water, mud and debris ripped down canyons, destroying houses, bridges and roads. Even after the rain ended or slowed down, all that water moved downstream into the lower laying areas, flooding homes, schools, farmland and businesses. Due to road closures, destroyed bridges and deep water, many towns were isolated, and rescue workers were sometimes prevented from assisting civilians, and helicopter evacuations had to be implemented. Unfortunately, more rain is expected Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t post many pictures in this article, since you can find an enormous array of them out on the internet.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Warn.

I was out mountain biking late Wednesday evening in Colorado Springs, and got caught out in the first brunt of the deluge. The trails that might have a small trickle of water during a normal rainstorm, were turning into creeks, and super saturated gravel and soil was turning into heavy wet cement.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Warn.

Some of the roads and trails I was on earlier in the day, collapsed, sloughed off and became sinkholes sometime during the storm, which dumped 10 inches of rain in a short period of time.

Many people up in the Boulder, Weld and Larimer Counties are without food, water and electricity, and some only escaped from their homes with the clothes on their backs. People have lost homes, businesses and in some cases towns, and the amount of roads and bridges that have been destroyed are mind boggling. Currently, there are five confirmed dead and hundreds unaccounted for, and we all hope that the missing people are located as the cleanup continues.

Helping Out

People need a vast array of assistance, from the basic necessities such as food, water and shelter, to help cleaning up the mess that was left behind by the receding waters. Once things calm down, a lot of trail repair work is going to be required, so join your local trail group and assist on one of their work days. Here are a couple of organizations some local friends have mentioned for those hardest hit counties (please add any additional organizations to the comments section):

Forum Threads

Here some of the threads from the Colorado Front Range forum covering the topic:

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Mr. K says:

    How is Apex Park trail doing in Golden? I was just there visiting. Any information on the conditions? It doesn’t look or sound good!!!

  • kg says:

    Apex park is closed until further notice. parts of apex collapsed, some of enchanted forest had rock slides or collapsed, and i imagine argos climb & pick N sledge didn’t fair well either. BUMMER SUMMER 2013

  • Mr. K says:

    What a shame! Pick n sledge is such a fun trail. Enchanted Forest with more rocks and obstacles? Sounds more technical then ever! I am still having nightmares about Argos climb…and as you know that is the easier trail to climb instead of Apex climb!

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