Throughout 2008, the Public Lands Partnership (PLP) in cooperation with the Forest Service, sponsored a visitor use survey on the Plateau to identify use patterns, needs and desired recreation amenities of forest users. The survey was conducted by Colorado State University and resulted in the collection of data, which helped form the basis of the proposal for the Columbine Pit area.
“In addition to the restrooms and campsites, other amenities that are under consideration for the Columbine recreation area include parking for fishing at the ponds, development of a skills park for ATV’s and motorcycles and a trailhead for the Parallel Trail,” said Ken Straley, recreation district manager for the Ouray District.
The Ouray District has been discussing the proposal with various partners and interest groups over the past month, including ATV/OHV groups, livestock permittees, the PLP, and environmental groups.
“The feedback we have received has been mostly positive and has resulted in some new ideas and suggestions to incorporate into the proposal,” Ouray District Ranger Tammy Randall-Parker said. “These suggestions include incorporating children into the design of the skills park and converting Columbine Campground into a day-use or tent-only area, among others.”
Randall-Parker went on to explain that one of the biggest hurdles to address is how to provide for long-term maintenance of the site and the likelihood of a fee system to help with basic upkeep of site facilities.
Livestock use of the area, in response to concerns from local grazing permittees, would not change. Currently, the site is used by anglers, hunters, campers and OHV enthusiasts while active grazing is occurring. She said that as long as these uses can exist in harmony, there isn’t a need to change that in order to add improvements that the public has asked for.
A formal proposal for comment on this project is forthcoming. In the interim, interested groups and individuals are encouraged to contact Straley at 970/240-5419 with questions. Anyone who would like notice of the proposal are can send their request to email@example.com.