Local lore claims ranchers placed the cars along the river’s edge to stop the banks from sloughing off and prevent the river from encroaching on their land.
“It was done to keep the bank from eroding,” said John Packer, owner of Fly Fishing Outfitters in Avon. “People used to do stuff like that back in the day when it was only slightly illegal. Nowadays, throwing cars in the river is not really kosher.”
Several people familiar with the river guessed the cars date back to the ’40s and ’50s. Ken Neubecker, a former Eagle resident and past president of Colorado Trout Unlimited, said he once uncovered a car during an Eagle River cleanup event about 12 years ago. Only the roof of the car was peeking out of the river sediment, he said.