Work begins on new Rifle boat ramp |

Work begins on new Rifle boat ramp

Ryan Hoffman

Construction on the new Rifle boat ramp, a project talked about for year, is officially underway.

Crews with Tamarrel started mobilizing last week for the $234,663 project, which is expected to wrap up in mid-October.

The project includes the demolition of the existing boat ramp, located directly next to the Colorado 13 bridge on the south side of the Colorado River, which was installed in 1996. Project backers have long argued it is unsafe due to its proximity to the bridge pylons and its location just upstream from a concrete weir.

The new boat ramp will be located farther downstream to the west and closer to the former visitor information center. The project also includes a new parking lot and trail network, which will include 2,051 feet of trail along the river and a 1,428-foot loop trail.

When Rifle City Council approved the contract with Tamarrel in August, the amount was more than $50,000 less than the $288,078 budgeted by the city in late 2015. The bulk of the funding was provided by Garfield County through its conservation trust fund, which is funded by Colorado Lottery proceeds. Separately a group of funding partners raised $67,000 for the project, an amount that includes a $30,000 grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. With the amount from the county and the amount raised by others exceeding the total project cost awarded in the contract, the city will refund leftover dollars to the entities and groups that contributed, according to Nathan Lindquist, Rifle planning director. CPW has already indicated the city can use the full $30,000 awarded for the project, meaning the excess funds will be divided between the county and others.

In presenting the submitted contracts to council, Public Works Director Rick Barth referred to the project as the “long awaited boat ramp.”

Backers of the project have publicly pushed for the new boat ramp since at least 2013, but funding and other obstacles have pushed the project back. The desire to see a network of trails in that area, which is near Lions Pond, dates back even longer.

Dreams of a trail network date back at least to 2004 when the Lower Valley (LoVa) Trails group applied for a grant to build extensive trail work, according to Larry Dragon, executive director of LoVa.

Dragon, who has watched the boat ramp project from a distance, said it’s exciting to see the project moving forward.

That area has long been envisioned as part of the LoVa Trail — a 47-mile nonmotorized trail running from Glenwood Springs to the Garfield County line west of Parachute. Not much progress has been made, at least in the form of actual trail segments, in the nearly two decades that LoVa has been talked about.

It’s smaller projects such as the boat ramp trails and the Silt underpass pedestrian trail, which opened earlier this year, that will help make the overall LoVa Trail a reality someday, Dragon said.

“It’s just great that it’s moving forward and I’m glad to hear it’s actually happening.”

The project, which represents the city’s last large planned project of 2016, is set to be completed in mid-October, Barth said in an interview.

Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, an area nonprofit, is organizing a trail building day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. Tools and instruction will be provided, along with a meal and celebratory party at the end of the day.

Visit for more information on the project and to sign-up.

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