This historical and scientific exhibit collaboration between the Tread of Pioneers Museum and Friends of the Yampa explores the Yampa River and its valley, climate change and other impacts on the river, and the efforts of local and statewide organizations trying to protect the river that is so vital to northwest Colorado.
The Yampa River is the lifeblood of the Yampa Valley. Originally known as the Bear River, the name was later changed to Yampa, referring to the root vegetable that grows near the riverbed and was once foraged by the Ute Indians.
As one of the last rivers in the Western United States free of major diversions or dams, the Yampa measures 260 miles from the Flat Tops mountains to its final destination, where it merges with the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. Along its route through the heart of Steamboat Springs, numerous creeks and drainages carrying mountain snowmelt cause the Yampa to swell and flood the river valley lowlands in spring and early summer. Many communities, including towns, ranchers, recreationists, and wildlife, depend on the Yampa River and its tributaries. By working together to utilize and protect this amazing resource, the Yampa River of today still resembles the river of the past.
Photo courtesy: Noah Wetzel