Take a Google Earth “fly-by” of the Dolores River

It’s early December and the temperatures in southwest Colorado are in the minus-‘teens, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit one of the region’s most spectacular rivers. How, you ask?  By “flying” the Dolores River courtesy of a new Google Earth digital tour, hosted here on our website.

Last fall, we enlisted Connolly Cartography to help us build six digital tours of the Dolores River using Google Earth-rendered images of the actual river, canyons and landscape. Each tour covers a section of the river—from the headwaters in the San Juan Mountains to its confluence with the Colorado River just across the Utah state line—and runs for approximately 4 to 7 minutes. (See the map at the bottom of this post.)

Your computer needs a Google Earth plug-in to run the tours. Along the way, you can stop, rewind, speed up, wander around, or zoom in as you see fit. It’s a virtual way to get your Dolores River fix. From the stretch along Highway 145, to McPhee Reservoir, to the three great BLM Wilderness Study Areas in Montrose and Mesa counties—it offers a new perspective on the watershed and helps show why BLM lands in this region are worthy of inclusion in the National Conservation Lands.

And while river season is a long way off, the Dolores River Boating Advocates—stewards of this great river—are gearing up for 2014.

  • Helping to implement river-related components of the recently released San Juan National Forest and BLM’s Tres Rios Field Office’s joint Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the area. That’s a mouthful, but this document will guide management for 2.4 million acres of public land in southwest Colorado for the next 20 years or so.
  • Participating in local discussions affecting river management, ranging from Land Use Codes, the Dolores River Valley Plan, to the Lower Dolores River Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (Implementation Plan).
  • Broadcasting “The River Trip,” on local radio station KSJD in Cortez, organizing river stewardship projects, reaching out to area students with river education and water-quality monitoring, selling some good-looking t-shirts, and a lot more.



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