New Campground to Be Built on Uncompahgre Plateau
by Gus Jarvis
Jun 29, 2012 | 1822 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Designed With OHV Users in Mind 

MONTROSE COUNTY – Construction is set to begin on new camping facilities near Columbine Pass on the Uncompahgre Plateau that will, once completed, include 25-30 new designated campsites, parking facilities, fishing opportunities, restroom facilities and a staging area for off highway vehicles that will allow easy access to nearby designated trails and new riding opportunities.

Managed by the Ouray Ranger District of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest office, construction on the new 100-acre Columbine Campground, located in Montrose County, is set to begin next week with anticipated completion set for August 2012. Besides adding more recreational opportunities on the Uncompahgre Plateau, Ouray District Ranger Tammy Randall-Parker says the new Columbine Campground project will solve over-use issues the current campground has experienced. The facility and management of the surrounding area is designed to meet the needs of motorized recreationists at a central location on the Uncompahgre Plateau, and to mitigate environmental impacts to the area.

“A lot of work went into designing a facility that best meets the needs of visitors to the area, while addressing the concerns associated with past use of this popular site,” Randall-Parker says. “There was a lot of use, and it was unmanaged. We were getting some OHV use that had damaged parts of the area. This project will correct that by putting the OHVs on designated routes. There was a lot of public work that went into the design of this project, which included motorized users, quiet user groups, sportsmen, county employees, and the Public Lands Partnership.”

Along with adding a staging area to enhance the OHV experience at the upgraded campground, Randall-Parker says there are two gravel pits near the project that will provide “excellent” areas for open travel.

“We don’t have anything like that on the Plateau,” she says. “This is a real opportunity to give the OHV community the opportunity for open travel.” 

The sites staging area will enable OHV enthusiasts to park trailers with ease and its location will enable them to easily connect to OHV designated trails, including the new Parallel Trail, which is currently being built. 

At a price of approximately $200,000, the new campground will span over 100 acres of federally managed land and will be located adjacent to the original campground. Randall-Parker described the design of the new campground as having a “minimalist” approach and free to the public.

“There’s not a lot of facilities being built,” Randall-Parker says. “There will be a few picnic tables, the staging area and a couple of restroom facilities.”

While the campground design has a minimalist design, she said the campground will have the ability to host a large number of people. The campground will have 25-30 designated sites built and each one of those sites will be large enough to host more than one family at a time.

“That is a unique aspect of this project. Usually, you think of a campsite as one site for one family,” she says. “But the people that use this area like to use it in groups, so most of the campsites will accommodate at least three RVs or families. Others will be able to accommodate up to five or six. There will also be a large group use site as well.

“We are really excited to see this project begin and we look forward to providing this new facility to support recreation on the Uncompahgre Plateau,” she adds. “It is really a win-win and a good place for it.”

The construction area will be closed to the public for safety reasons, including access for camping, day-use activities, fishing and travel within or through the construction zone; signage will be posted. Trucks will be hauling gravel and other construction supplies on Divide and Monitor Mesa roads.

The existing campground, located opposite the new facility construction area (off the Divide Road) will remain open until construction is complete and then it will be converted to a “day-use” site. When completed, dispersed camping will be restricted to designated sites within one-quarter mile of the new facility. 

gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com or @gusgusj

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