Shady Island progressing quickly

Boat ramp and parking lot complete

[ By Katherine Nettles ]

The county held a work session on Tuesday, April 27 on how to handle parking and camping fees for the new Shady Island River Park north of Gunnison. The boat ramp is now in place and may even be ready by July 4 weekend. But campsites and restroom facilities are not scheduled for completion until 2022 and the county is still looking for grant funding to help complete the project.

Community development director Cathie Pagano and sustainability coordinator John Cattles explained to commissioners that a daily parking and camping fee would help generate maintenance revenue for the park itself, such as cleaning the bathrooms and maintaining landscaping and infrastructure.

Pagano pointed out that this is a parking fee only, and people can access the park free of charge by foot, bike or bus. The recommended fee structure, which all agreed is consistent with other regional river recreation area “pay to play” models, includes a $5 day parking fee, a $20 camping fee that would include one parked vehicle and annual parking passes available for individuals and commercial outfitters.

There will be free temporary parking to allow for boat drops and shuttles, and a reservation system for camping. RVs and campers will be prohibited from camping in the day-use area overnight, and there will be eventually a paid site host position.
Commissioners will vote on a formal resolution for user fees later, and have the opportunity to review user fees on an annual basis if they approve them.

Commissioners also took a walking tour of the newly paved Shady Island parking area and roadway this week.

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