Fish Creek Falls trail work nearly finished


— Work on the upper trail at Fish Creek Falls is complete and visitors are welcome to take a walk on the newly paved path.
"The trail is completed as far as it's going to go this year," said Ray George, recreation program manager for the Hahn's Peak/Bears Ears District of the Routt National Forest.
During a two-week project, most of the upper trail was paved and erosion damage on the side of the path was fixed. There is about a 100-foot stretch at the beginning of the trail that still needs to be finished, but that work will be done on the next phase of the enhancement project.
The paved path offers anyone a chance to go on a short walk or wheelchair ride to the top of the trail, where it overlooks Fish Creek Falls and portions of the Routt National Forest.
"I've seen a lot more people in wheelchairs up there this year, so people are finding out about it and using it," George said.
The trail work is part of a project that started in 1994 to update the Forest Service recreation area. Money from the regional office of the Forest Service was set aside to all forest areas to use for improvement projects. Local officials identified Fish Creek as a perfect place for the funds to be used.
Past work in the area included paving the road at the park's entrance, adding picnic shelters on the upper trail and constructing a small amphitheater near the upper falls.
This fall, the Forest Service will accept bids for building a new restroom in the upper parking lot, completing the foundation for an interpretive kiosk in the upper parking lot and paving the rest of the upper trail.
Work may begin on those projects before the winter sets in, but it's expected that it will be pushed back to the spring of 2001, George said.
Also planned for next year is a drinking fountain to be installed near the lower trail section for hikers, as well as informational signs that will be placed throughout the park.
Plus, the Forest Service plans to build a fee station at the park's entrance to ensure that everyone using the recreational area pays the required $3.
That project was to be finished by now, but it has been delayed.
"We really don't have the folks around to do the things that we need to do to get it done," forestry technician Dan McIntyre said.
That's because of the large number of fires burning on public lands this year. Many of the local Forest Service employees are fighting fires.
"We still have plans to do it, but I can't say when it will get done," McIntyre said.
After the work is finished next year, all of the money originally set aside for Fish Creek Falls will be spent. Any other upgrades planned for the future will come out of the revenues that are collected at the park, George said.
"We're going to continue to work on it as the money comes in," he said.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail


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