CPW funds ramps, river recreation in Garfield County | PostIndependent.com

CPW funds ramps, river recreation in Garfield County

A ribbon cutting ceremony held at the new Rifle Boat Ramp last winter.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife continues to fund projects along the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers and throughout Garfield County that allow for better, safer and more wide-ranging fishing opportunities.

Earlier this month, CPW committed $10,000 to Silt's new boat ramp through its Fishing is Fun grant. The boat ramp is now the third in the area that CPW has helped fund. CPW also committed $30,000 for Rifle's boat ramp last year and made a much larger contribution for Carbondale's ramp nearly a decade ago.

"In combination with other boat ramps on the river, including a new one in Rifle that we helped fund, more and more anglers will be able to take advantage of fishing opportunities on that stretch of the Colorado," Fishing is Fun program coordinator Jim Guthrie said in a press release.

CPW's Fishing is Fun grant program is geared to improve angling opportunities throughout the state. This year it awarded $400,000 to nine projects.

"Colorado has world-class fisheries and angling opportunities, and maintaining and increasing access to those resources is so important," said CPW Director Bob Broscheid. "The Fishing is Fun program is a powerful program to improve angling access for residents and visitors alike, leveraging angler dollars to assist in providing additional opportunities."

Guthrie said that the grant is meant to improve local opportunities for anglers especially, which is why the CPW only paid for a portion of the ramps for Rifle and Silt. Those receive all types of recreational river users.

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"Certainly when Silt came in, we were happy to help fund the project because Rifle's had just been put in the previous year," Guthrie said.

Like Rifle, Silt relocated its boat ramp in order to make it more user-friendly and safe.

Silt Town Administrator Pam Woods said the money will be used to pave the new ramp. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is expected to take place in the spring.

Rifle held its ceremony Nov. 30 last year and has since seen a definite increase in not only the amount of anglers but also in rafters and recreation users.

Helen Rogers, chair of Rifle's Visitor Improvement Fund, said the ramp makes fishing much more accessible and safer for that stretch of the Colorado River. Several accidents occurred at the old ramp resulting in serious injury and even death. But the new ramp, located downstream, is safer and provides much better access to the river.

"I think it's wonderful that Silt is improving theirs and Parachute, too," she said.

For the rafting community, the goal is all about better access, she added.

Parachute will complete its boat ramp later this year without CPW funding. Its goal is the same: Drive more river users to the area.

Outdoor recreation remains the highest priority on Parachute's economic development plan, as it continues to build its recreation corridor. The financial potential is notable: A 2013 economic study found angling contributes more than $1.9 billion annually to the Colorado economy through direct and secondary expenditures, and supports more than 16,000 jobs statewide, according to a CPW press release.

Since 1987, the Fishing is Fun program has supported more than 300 angling improvement projects of various sizes across the state, from the Eastern Plains and the West Slope to the major metropolitan areas along the Front Range. Fishing is Fun funding comes from the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program. Matching funds are required, and the nine projects approved in 2017 included more than $600,000 in local support.