Rifle Gap, Harvey Gap open April 1 | PostIndependent.com

Rifle Gap, Harvey Gap open April 1

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

RIFLE — Colorado Parks and Wildlife will open Harvey Gap and Rifle Gap State Parks to boating on April 1.

These are two of the most popular parks in western Colorado, where people can fish, hike and bike. Rifle Gap also offers a variety of camping options. The clear water of Rifle Gap Reservoir attracts water-skiers, jet-skiers and boaters, and also offers great conditions for sailing.

Harvey Gap is good for small boats of 20 horsepower or less. Sailing and canoeing are popular, too.

“Fishing and boating are great here, and we look forward to a great season,” said Park Manager Brian Palcer.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds boaters that attention to safety and responsibility on the water is required at all times. Vessels must be registered and equipped with all of the required safety gear.

Authorities warn against boating and drinking.

“A fun day on the water can turn tragic very quickly if you’re not taking safety into consideration,” Palcer said. “We will be out every day to make sure people are following the rules so that everyone can have a fun time.”

Palcer reminds boaters to always have the basic required gear, including personal flotation devices, a sound-producing device, fire extinguisher, navigation lights and a current boat registration with visible registration numbers placed on the watercraft.

Colorado boating regulations require that all children younger than 13 wear a life jacket at all times while on the water.

For more information about required equipment and boating regulations, pick up the latest regulations brochure at your local park visitor center, also available online at http://www.cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Boating/BoatingRegulations.pdf

Through the year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife patrols the state’s water to provide assistance and enforce boating laws. The public is encouraged to contact a park ranger for help at any time.

“We can even perform a free equipment inspection to make sure you have what you need, and that it’s in good shape,” Palcer said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife also is continuing its efforts to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic nuisance species. Boaters are urged to do their part to help prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels, among other invaders, into the state’s waterways.

“Invasive species are a constant threat to our waters,” Palcer said. “We have managed to prevent an infestation in the state so far, but we need to stay vigilant, and we need the public’s cooperation. Follow inspection rules and always remember to clean, drain and dry your vessel.”

Boats can be inspected at Harvey Gap and Rifle Gap Reservoirs during the following times:

April 1: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

May 1: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

May 16: 7 a.m.-9 p.m.

The public is advised to read posted inspection and decontamination schedules for changes as the boating season progresses.

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