Paddling: Rio Grande White Water

This is Passport to Texas

What if I told you the Rio Grande has a class two white water rapid—would you believe me? Would you believe Eric Ellman?

We’ve been leading tours on a class two rapid below Anzalduas Dam that Gary Lacey, who designed the US National Whitewater Training Center in Charlotte North Carolina flew out to take a look at for free, himself, because he could hardly believe it. He believes it is a world class white water park waiting to be built.

Ellman is the Executive director of Los Caminos Del Rio a non profit that preserves and promotes the natural and cultural heritage of the Rio Grande Valley from Laredo to the Gulf of Mexico—and paddling the Rio Grande is one way to bring attention the area, and change attitudes. Building a white water park would be another.

So far the best place we’ve found for a white water park would probably below Anzalduas Dam. There’s already sufficient drop, the water coming out below the dam is cool and clear most of the year, and there’s opportunities to do something even more extravagant, which the IBWC has said would be possible, involving taking off water above the river and creating a water course through the park and putting it back into the river below the dam, thereby obviating any of the cross-border issues that people are generally most concerned about.

The bi-national white water park is currently in discussions. We’ll have updates as they are available.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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