Nick Jurney, The Mountain Mail Staff Writer
Bill Dvorak, a resident of Nathrop since 1984, was recently nominated and recognized by American Rivers as a “River Champion.”
American Rivers, an organization of more than 200,000 members, activists and volunteers, has existed for 40 years and works to protect and restore rivers across the country as the “leading voice for rivers,” according to its website.
This year, Dvorak was named along with 19 other activists and members as reader-nominated River Champions for their work in protecting and maintaining rivers throughout the country.
Dvorak said it was an honor to be included in the same list as well-known river activist Martin Litton.
“To be honest, it’s great to see my name listed with Martin, who’s always been one of my heroes,” Dvorak said. “I’ll never forget when I first had to cut him off at a meeting early in my career. It was intimidating, but he smiled at me and even bought me a drink after.”
Litton is known for heading campaigns against the construction of dams on the Colorado River, including one campaign that halted a proposed damming in Grand Canyon National Park.
Along with owning and operating his own business along with his wife, Dvorak Expeditions, as rafting and fishing guide, Dvorak works as a Colorado public lands organizer for the National Wildlife Federation.
He has been instrumental in developing and carrying out many sportsman and recreation management plans, resource management and helped to pass 2007’s Wildlife Habitat Protection Bill.
Dvorak was involved in setting up the agreement between the Bureau of Land Management and Colorado State Parks to work together to successfully manage areas of the Arkansas River in the mid-1980s.
In addition, Dvorak helped pass HB 1341, to reconfigure the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee to diversify membership of the regulatory oil and gas body in Colorado.
“We wanted to get a broader committee and have three members within the industry,” Dvorak said. “I’ve worked a lot with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee, and now with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.”
One of Dvorak’s most recent projects has been as president of the Friends of Brown’s Canyon, which backs a proposed bill to designate the area as a national monument.
“I’ve lived in the area for around 30 years and have been involved with preserving it for well over 15 years,” Dvorak said. “We’ve had several attempts at permanent protection but have never crossed the finish line for whatever reason.”
Dvorak said he hopes this time will be different, and he thinks it is necessary to designate the canyon a national monument to protect it from any alterations.
“It really is a spectacular area that’s unique to Colorado,” Dvorak said. “I’d like to see it protected from any possible change to the makeup – whether it be through mining or things like that.”
Dvorak enjoys the outdoors in his free time, noting that elk hunting season is one of his favorite times of the year. He also enjoys hiking, skiing, fishing and mountain biking.