Christo is coming to Snowmass Village's Anderson Ranch Arts Center on August 23rd to discuss "Over The River," the art installation he hopes to create that would cover 6 miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado with translucent silver fabric. Christo has been trying to make the project a reality since 1992 when he and late wife Jeanne-Claude start meeting with local residents and officials, but despite a 2011 Bureau of Land Management permit for the project, a lawsuit from locals has stalled the project. The lawsuit, from a group called Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR), maintains that a section of the installation, which would cover parts of the Arkansas from Salida to Cañon City, would go over what the BLM considers an "area of environmental concern." The suit alleges that modifying the landscape as Christo's project would need to do by drilling 9,100 9-foot holes in the rock along the river to mount the fabric panels would be illegal. ROAR criticized the project's impact as "akin to a mining operation," and according to the Aspen Daily News, is further concerned about "undue harm on the river, its wildlife and also the area's residents by blocking Highway 50 for periods of time, restricting recreation in and around the river, and threatening bighorn sheep in the area." In his defense, Christo has funded a bighorn sheep habitat-treatment program for the area around the Arkansas.
The day before Christo gives his 12:30 pm lecture about the project at the Anderson Ranch, the BLM is set to release the documents that justify its refusal to ROAR to appeal its permit for Over The River. A final decision on approval for the project is expected from a Denver judge by year's end.
· Court battle looms as Christo comes to Anderson Ranch [Aspen Daily News]
· Over The River [Christo & Jeanne-Claude]
· Anderson Ranch Arts Center