The summer season is quickly fading and fall is just around the corner in the Gunnison Valley. The National Park Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have been busy protecting Blue Mesa Reservoir from harmful aquatic invasive species this summer and look forward to the quieter fall season.
As the days get shorter and water and air temperatures drop, boaters on Blue Mesa Reservoir should be aware of the following inspection station and ramp closures and hours changes:
—Through the end of the day on Monday, September 1 (Labor Day) all inspection station and ramp hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Lake Fork, Elk Creek, Iola and Stevens Creek sites. Ponderosa’s inspection station and ramp hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday through Monday.
—Ponderosa and Stevens Creek inspection station and ramps will close for the season at the end of the day on Monday, September 1 (Labor Day). The Iola inspection station and ramp will close at the end of the day Monday, October 13. The Elk Creek and Lake Fork inspection station and ramps will remain open until ice forces them to close.
From September 2 to September 30, hours for Elk Creek and Lake Fork inspection stations will be 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. October hours will be 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Boaters are reminded that it is their responsibility to be off the reservoir before the ramps close for the day.
Many boats will exit Lake Fork and Elk Creek in the month of September due to marina slip closures. Boaters should plan for possible delays due to inspection and decontamination stations being busy with multiple vessels. Remember: boats that are cleaned, drained and dry, with plugs pulled, move through inspection more rapidly. Any boat that is dirty, crusty or slimy below the waterline; large and complex and/or has standing water in any section of the vessel will require a high-risk inspection and possibly decontamination.
Acting superintendent Christine Landrum said, “The National Park Service appreciates your support in helping to preserve Blue Mesa and its amazing fishery. It’s been a great summer, thanks to our boaters who help us protect this beautiful recreation resource. Blue Mesa Reservoir remains mussel-free, thanks to the cooperation of those who recreate here.”
If you have any questions, please visit the park website at go.nps.gov/mussel or call (970) 641-2337, ext. 215.