Artist Christo wins court round in Arkansas River project

Photo: Christo
Artist Christo along the banks of the Arkansas River in Salida in 2014.

Opponents say they may appeal after a federal judge refused to stop a plan by the artist Christo to hang nearly 6 miles of silvery fabric in sections over the Arkansas River.

Members of Rags Over the Arkansas River say the project is potentially dangerous and destructive to traffic and fish.

A federal judge ruled Friday that there is no evidence that federal officials failed to comply with environmental laws as opponents said in their lawsuit.

Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude began scouting for a location for the temporary installation in the 1990s. After visiting 89 rivers in seven states, they chose the Arkansas River between Salida and Canon City.

Christo told CPR in October that the idea for the project came from an installation years earlier where the couple was wrapping a Paris bridge in fabric.

The couple thought about trying to do something with massive fabric in a remote place. In the 1970s, Jeanne-Claude and Christo stretched an enormous orange curtain across a valley near Rifle, Colorado. In the early 1990s, they set out to find a wild river -- but not too wild. They settled on the Arkansas.

The project could begin as soon as 2018.