Creating a center of Activity and Learning:

Turning the busy thoroughfare of Rifle's i-70 rest stop into a premier colorado river interpretive center


The Past

In 2017, the City of Rifle donated the unused I-70 Rifle rest stop building for our use. Part of it serves as our office, in the heart of the region where we do our work. The other section once occupied with brochures and other informational material about the area now lies quite dormant, waiting to be turned into something new and refreshing for the dozens of individuals who pass through on longer trips or who swing by to take a relaxing walk around the oxbow lake each day.

The Middle Colorado Watershed Council has raised $60,000 over the last six months to develop that unused space into a modern, timeless interpretive center to intentionally bring the community further into the world of water education, and to catch the wary traveler by surprise with an educational break from their trip. 

The Process

MCWC developed a three-phase plan to bring this building to life. The first phase involves engaging local community members work in the fields of science and education: science teachers, wildlife ecologists, environmental educators, park rangers. We want their input regarding the content of this interpretive center to ensure that the content is relevant, that it tells a story, and that it is impactful. Next, we'll utilize interpretive designers to aesthetically design and build the material and displays. Finally, we'll open, staffing the building with an docent and running programming to engage visitors and the community.

Colorado River Interpretive Center Plan - September 2018

The Future

The $60,000 partially come from a large grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, from Chevron, and from a local family foundation with matching individual fundraising. It's an amount that gets us started, but interpretive materials are expensive to produce, and the nearby oxbow lake that is so often walked, fished, and played along throughout the year would be a great place for supplemental interpretive materials. So we're not done, and we need your support. Please contact our Jon Nicolodi for additional information so that your giving can be intentional and beneficial to us both. We're excited to bring this resource to the community.