By Jim Mimiaga
Journal Staff Writer
The House Creek boat ramp at McPhee Reservoir will open Friday, and the recently renovated House Creek campground is expected to open June 1.
The boat ramp will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Monday until the end of September, the Dolores Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest said Thursday in a news release.
Aquatic Nuisance Species inspectors will conduct prelaunch inspections of trailered and motorized boats.
Only vessels with current boat registration may launch at the reservoir. Information is at Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s boating registration website. Boaters must comply with Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) regulations to stop the spread of zebra or quagga mussels and other invasive species.
Boaters also are required to follow CPW’s precautionary coronoavirus measures. Requirements are available at www.cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/BoatInspection.aspx.
Boaters who need a full inspection and decontamination are urged to visit McPhee on a weekday, when visitation is low. Boaters who have tags from last year’s inspections at McPhee may launch more quickly than boaters who need inspections.
The House Creek boat ramp opening was delayed from its usual May 15 start because of the coronavirus pandemic. The main McPhee boat Ramp opened May 8.
House Creek campground improvedThe House Creek campground is under construction is expected to open on June 1. Because of sub-30% occupancy rates, campsites are being reduced from 69 sites to 23 sites.
Old infrastructure also is driving the $237,955 project, said Bryce Paul, forest recreation technician.
Improvements will be made to water lines, electrical systems, roads and campsites. The campground has been struggling with water leaks and power outages.
New site markers, campfire rings, picnic tables, tent pads and RV electrical pedestals will meet USFS standards.
Electrical hookups at 11 campsites will be upgraded from 30 amps to 50 amps to accommodate modern RVs. Group camping areas will be reduced from two to one.
The campground on McPhee Reservoir was built in the early 1990s and is part of the San Juan National Forest. It is operated by the privately owned concessionaire Rocky Mountain Recreation and accessed via the paved House Creek Road (Forest Road 528).
For information, call the Dolores Ranger District at 882-7296.
Fire citationsDolores District Ranger Derek Padilla reported six campfire citations were issued on May 16 at the Cherry Creek and Boggy Draw areas.
The citations come amid reports about large camping groups in the Boggy Draw area.
All fires are prohibited, including grills and barbecues. Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.
Padilla said signs detailing the fire ban are posted at the Boggy Draw parking lots and other areas, and no-campfire pin flags were placed in visible fire rings. An electronic sign with a message about fire restrictions is positioned on County Road 31.
In addition, law enforcement and National Forest staff have told campers about the fire ban.
“When we went back up that evening, people had built fires anyway and four citations were issued in the Boggy Draw area,” Padilla said. Two citations were issued to campers with illegal campfires in the Cherry Creek area. The fine is $335.