The House Creek Campground north of Dolores will be downsized, and will undergo major infrastructure renovations this spring.
During construction the campground will be closed and no reservations at Recreation.gov will be taken until project completion. Construction is expected to be complete in June.
Lake boats will still be allowed to launch at the House Creek campground boat dock during open times when invasive species inspectors are present.
The campground on McPhee Reservoir was built in the early 1990s and is part of the San Juan National Forest. It is operated by a private concessionaire Rocky Mountain Recreation and accessed via the paved House Creek Road (Forest Road 528).
Because of consistently low occupancy rates below 30 percent, campsites are being reduced from 69 sites to 23 sites, according to Forest Service officials. The adjustment is more in line with demand, and will reduce maintenance costs.
Aging infrastructure that needs repair and upgrading is driving the project, said Bryce Paul, forest recreation technician. The project cost is $237,955.
Improvements will be made to water lines, electrical systems, roads, and camp sites. The campground has been struggling with water line leaks and power outages, officials said.
Deteriorating site markers, campfire rings, picnic tables, tent pads, and RV electrical pedestals will be replaced to meet USFS standards.
Electrical hookups at campsites will be upgraded from 30 amps to 50 amps to accommodate modern RVs. There will be 11 sites with the upgraded electric hookups. The group camping areas will be reduced from two to one.
Popular sites near the reservoir edge will be improved with new power, water, and shade structures. Officials are evaluating development of a swimming beach.
New campground features will feature updated materials that are durable and low maintenance, Paul said. Wood picnic tables will be replaced with powder-coated metal ones.
“These renovations will help manage visitors and maintenance of the campground to manageable levels,” Paul said.
House Creek also features a large boat dock, ample boat parking, and bathrooms. A water-treatment plant provides safe drinking water drawn from wells, and there is an RV dump site. The new McPhee Overlook Trail connects to House Creek from Dolores.