Promoting safe and sustainable recreation on the Cache la Poudre River

The Cache la Poudre River offers abundant opportunities for a broad spectrum of river users. The scenic river runs from wild to mild, attracting people from around the country. A day of recreation along the Poudre River is a quintessential Northern Colorado activity – especially during the hottest days of the summer.

However, most people do not understand the power of moving water. Although it may appear to be moving slowly, water moves deceptively fast and can exert great amounts of force. Melting snow packs during the spring increase water flows. Exposure to cold water can quickly lead to hypothermia, an extremely dangerous condition involving the lowering of the body’s “core” temperature that can be lethal.

The multi-pronged Play It Safe on the Poudre program raises awareness about approaches to recreating on the river in safe and sustainable ways, and helps to build the capacity of the Poudre Fire Authority and Larimer County rescue teams. The program  also calls attention to the history of in-river structures that represent hazards to recreation.

Download a River Access and Safety Map

Play It Safe on the Poudre



•Expand opportunities for safer and more sustainable recreational usage of the Poudre River, while raising awareness about river heritage.


• Reduce river fatalities
• Search & rescue teams fully prepared to eff ectively assist people in distress
• Instill understanding of river safety skills
• Increase awareness of routes that are better options for river safety
• Increase awareness about CALA/PHA and Poudre River heritage
• Improve understanding about why river diversion structures exist

Elements of Play It Safe On The Poudre

• Teach locals and visitors safety strategies on the river (educational events, brochures, etc.)
• Install signs along the Poudre River from Gateway Natural Area to College Avenue to inform river users about recommended river access areas and warn of upcoming river hazards
• Develop a loaner lifejacket distribution program
• Acquire new, state-of-the art equipment for the Larimer County Dive Rescue Team

The Campaign for Cache

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) raises awareness about water issues and connects people to their water heritage in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) through a variety of programs that promote, engage, and inspire!