County explores South Boulder Creek access for local fishermen

CDOT amenable to limited use

By Lynn Volkens

A collaboration between Gilpin County and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) may result in public access to South Boulder Creek at Rollinsville. Gilpin County Commissioner Gail Watson, met with CDOT Program Engineer, Peter Kozinski, on April 24, 2013 to explore the possibility of opening the access for local fishermen. Sheriff Bruce Hartman, Captain Tom Ihme, County Manager Roger Baker, Community Planning Director Tony Petersen, and Rollinsville resident Steven Roszell also attended.

A popular spot for local fishermen to access the creek near Rollinsville is no longer available as it is being leased by the private Lincoln Hills Fishing Club. Roszell has raised objections about the fishing club’s privatized use of an area near the historical creek access point. However, an area along the south side of the creek, just south of the Highway 119 bridge, has the potential to become an alternative access point. CDOT owns the land, which they purchased mainly to preserve the area between the highway and the creek. They could issue a special use permit to the County for use of that area. There is space enough to widen the highway shoulder and provide a small graveled parking area. Existing fences must be removed, a foot path established from the parking area to the creek, new fences erected around the CDOT property and “Do Not Enter” signs posted at the adjacent private property lines. The area on the north side of the creek is a protected wetlands area and would be posted “Do Not Enter” as well. If that area becomes negatively impacted, “We’d have to pull back the permit,” Kozinski warned.

CDOT’s chief concern is to ensure that drivers will be able to enter and exit the highway safely. Beyond that, Kozinski suggested the County use a “minimal approach” in improvements to the area: stop logs placed to keep people from driving down to the creek, but no pavement so that there aren’t drainage issues; and no restrooms, picnic table or trash cans so as to discourage other uses besides fishing. “The fishing community has pretty good etiquette,” Kozinski said, “but if you put the other stuff there, you risk abuse of it.”

The County’s next step is to create an engineered design plan showing how the site will be developed, the materials that will be used and the responsibilities of each party. “The limit of our involvement will be development of the area with safe egress – but nothing financial,” Kozinski said. The County can reduce its costs if the work is done in-house. Petersen said the Planning Department can meet the design engineering requirements. Public Works Director Curt Langsdon will be consulted regarding the grading and other work needed to create the parking area, foot path, fencing, etc. Recycled asphalt material would be a good application for the parking area, Kozinski said, adding that he could find the material to use, but the County would have to truck it from a spot near Kermit’s.

Watson said she would discuss the proposal with Commissioners Buddy Schmalz and Connie McLain. If the three can find the needed funding in an already tight budget, and the go-ahead is given, Gilpin County will pursue the special use permit from CDOT. No public hearing is required, however, Kozinski and Watson both said they’d feel better if one was held.

“What’s the timeline for the permit?” Watson asked. “How fast can you move?” Kozinski responded. He reckoned CDOT could review the permit by July. That still allows for summer construction time-and plenty of fine fall days for fishing.

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