Ramp revamp: Westbank access to Roaring Fork River improved
As many Roaring Fork River floaters likely have noticed this summer, the Westbank boat ramp got a major overhaul.
The much-needed repairs transformed it from one of the most difficult ramps to maneuver to one of the easiest. Installing a turnaround by the river was the ticket.
The improvements were done as a cooperative effort by Garfield County Road and Bridge Department, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Roaring Fork Outfitters Association.
New features at the Westbank put-in and take-out include concrete pads for a portable bathroom and a trash receptacle, a wider, easier-to-maneuver launch area, a regraded ramp down to the launch area, a larger parking lot, a new sign, bank erosion control and widened shoulders on the adjoining road, County Road 154.
The Westbank boat access, leased by the Division of Wildlife, is located near the intersection of county roads 154 and 109 in the shadow of the old and new Hardwick bridges.
“It’s been a project that’s been in the works for a while,” said Justin Martens, DOW district wildlife manager in Carbondale. “The old one was a real axle-breaker.”
The work, which had an estimated value of around $18,000, was done in spring in time for summer rafters, fishermen, kayakers and other floaters.
“The Garfield County Commissioners put a big push on to improve it,” Martens said.
The work makes it easier for boaters to access the river and get in and out faster.
But it also benefits Garfield County road crews. Garfield County uses Roaring Fork River water for dust control in summer and for mixing with mag chloride in winter. The improved ramp gives truck drivers better access to the river.
The lease for maintenance of the trash receptacle and portable bathroom is paid for by the outfitters association.
“Without the county, we wouldn’t have gotten it done,” Martens said.
Doug Thoe, District 1 road foreman for Garfield County, described some of the work his crews did.
“We provided all the equipment for placement,” he said.
They used rotomill tailings, which is crumbled asphalt scraped off the surface of a road, to top off the parking area and ramp leading down to the river.
Closer to the river’s edge, crews used coarse gravel on the ramp.
Martens also said money put in the donation tube at the boaters’ access is spent exclusively at that access and not on other projects.
“It certainly helps out,” he said.
The area is open to the public for boat access, fishing and just sitting by the river, but there are some rules: no dogs and no campfires.
“That’s a leased property. And just as easily as we got that leased property, it could be taken away,” Martens said. “We just ask that everybody be mindful of each other and that they don’t trash it.”
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