Early travelers through the area marveled at its crystal clear waters, abundance of trout, adjacent green pastures, and dramatic rock formations in the canyon. The Cache la Poudre River’s abundance attracted many others who settled in the valley and constructed farms and towns. To combat aridity, they also dug irrigation ditches and diverted water from the river. The dams, canals, houses, roads, fields, and factories they built to make life in the valley possible also changed and polluted the river. As the years passed and the population grew, residents continued to find the river useful for recreation and the valley a beautiful place to live, but by the mid-twentieth century, some began demanding more attention be paid to the health of the river. Water sports also became a larger part of the local economy. Today, environmentalists and recreational users join agricultural, municipal, and industrial interests in cooperation and competition for the Cache la Poudre River’s waters.