- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

CORTEZ, Colo. (AP) - The cost of maintaining recreation facilities at McPhee reservoir has Montezuma County officials worried about taking steps they hope will improve opportunities for business and play at the under-used site.

County commissioners would like to take control of campgrounds and boat ramps at the McPhee and House Creek recreation areas from the San Juan National Forest.

“In the last 15 years, services have digressed at the lake to near nothing, so it behooves us to look at taking over management,” county commissioner Keenan Ertel said last month.

Budget cuts forced the removal of bathrooms with running water and a fish-cleaning station at the McPhee boat ramp. Bathrooms at a Dolores access were also removed.

At a meeting last month with forest officials and aides with elected state officials, commissioners asked that the land be conveyed to the county.

The facilities are valued at $5.6 million, not including roads and parking areas, the Cortez Journal reported (https://tinyurl.com/qyqv2np ) on Thursday.

The McPhee campground has 80 campsites, nine flush toilets, a water system and other amenities. The McPhee boat ramp has a large paved parking area, six-lane concrete boat launch, vault toilets, picnic units and an informational kiosk.

The House Creek campground has 10 composting toilets, well-water system, 73 campsites and 22 RV sites with electrical hookups.

Campground occupancy rates are low - about 20 percent for both McPhee and House Creek between May and September.

In 2014, the Forest Service spent $40,000 maintaining facilities at the McPhee site. The campground sewage system, lift station, and leach field were overhauled.

At the House Creek campground $16,000 was spent on maintenance. The water system has persistent leaks, and the well requires a state certified operator for testing and servicing.

Officials say the McPhee site has a backlog of maintenance needs estimated to cost $350,000. The House Creek site backlog is estimated to be $158,000.


Information from: Cortez Journal, https://www.cortezjournal.com/



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