Because public lands serve as a bed-base for those who come here to camp, hike, fish, work and boat, infrastructure includes our vibrant downtowns where visitors go to clean up and recharge. The Chaffee Rec Plan helps acquire necessary assets to manage growth by using the Recreation Infrastructure Tool — a needs assessment that prioritizes projects to manage the impacts of growth. The tool identifies new projects that protect the environment, improve experiences and support local business, enabling an “all lands” view that focuses limited resources on shared priorities.
Here is a list of projects we will work on first to keep the outdoors clean and fun with new infrastructure. The list will be updated in 2022 and then every 2 years:
The plan does not replace federal land agency planning processes but accelerates work by clarifying community priorities. Read details below:
The USFS will invest an estimated $235,000 of Great American Outdoor Act funds to enhance and expand restroom facilities at the North Fork, Coaldale and Bootleg campgrounds and the Shirley Site and Denny Creek trailheads. Top-rated priorities that require funding also include:
- A visitor center, restroom and RV dump station on City of Salida lands,
- Upgraded facilities at Marvin Park and the Spiral Drive trailhead in Salida,
- Restrooms at Hoover, Poncha Meadows and Tailwind Park in Poncha Springs,
- Upgrades at Columbine, McPhelemy, River Park and the community center in Buena Vista,
- A USFS restroom facility and parking on North Cottonwood Creek, and
- 10 restrooms at high-use camping areas like Burmac, Carnage Canyon and Greenscreek.
In addition to restrooms, new infrastructure projects offer immediate opportunity to improve user experiences:
- Add capacity at Monarch Park Campground,
- Contain multiple dispersed camping areas with very high impact to wildlife, water quality and/or agricultural operations, including State Land Board property in Chubb Park and Cochetopa Creek, USFS and BLM sites. The State Land Board indicates that addressing impacts in 2021 is essential if these areas are to remain open to recreation use.
- Realign a Colorado Trail segment at South Fooses Creek in wetland habitat,
- Add trail connectors in the Arkansas Hills Trail System,
- Expanded parking capacity at the Grizzly Creek motorized trailhead, and
- Add signage and structures to support seasonal closures to protect wildlife and educate users regarding county and private land restrictions.
The community proposed designated dispersed camping in Shavano, Burmac, Fourmile, Browns Creek and others. Conversion of roughly one-third of the dispersed campsites in the county would cost an estimated $3 million, including installation of fire rings.