Seaplanes return to Kenney Reservoir July 17 for Splash-In

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RANGELY | Don’t miss the annual Seaplane Splash-in at Kenney Reservoir this Saturday. After missing 2020, the seaplanes are returning in 2021. Organizer Ray Hawkins said he expects two or three seaplanes to participate. An aerial bingo contest is expected to draw in land aircraft as well. Tennis balls for the aerial bingo game are $5 apiece, and all event participants are eligible.

For several years, the Kenney Reservoir Splash-In has served as a way to raise awareness of the prohibition of seaplanes on Colorado state-owned public waterways. This prohibition is mostly due to the concern over the certain aquatic invasive species, most specifically Zebra mussels or Quagga mussels.

As it stands today, there are only two lakes in Colorado that allow seaplanes: Kenney Reservoir and Lake Meredith Reservoir (east of Pueblo) which are both privately owned waterways. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will not allow seaplanes on any state park waters due to the potential transmission of invasive species and furthermore, will not allow any organization to even demonstrate a responsible decontamination process.

Hawkins, who is the director of the Colorado Seaplane Initiative, said the impact of COVID on legislative activities kept the group from getting a bill before the legislature in 2021, something he hopes the group can remedy in 2022.

Events get underway at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 17. Alden VandenBrink, manager of the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District will be this year’s honored guest.

More information can be found at