Fish Creek trail work two weeks from finish

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— Hikers at Fish Creek Falls have another two weeks to wait until they have access to the upper trail.

The path has been closed for about a week so crews can repair erosion damage and pave part of it.

"We're making it accessible for the disabled and it will be safer," said Denise Germann, spokeswoman for the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.

A small building also will be placed at the park entrance in a couple weeks where a U.S. Forest Service employee will collect a $3-a-day fee for the use of the park. Annual passes are available for $10 for frequent users. The passes are good for 28 other Forest Service recreation areas in Colorado, including Hahn's Peak day-use area and Bear Lake picnic ground.

The fee station is a response to the number of users in the area who haven't been paying the fee, Germann said.

Eighty-five percent of the money collected will go toward maintaining the Fish Creek trails and restrooms.

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 for forest areas to use for projects. Local officials identified Fish Creek as a perfect place for the funds to be spent, Germann said.

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, the completion of an interpretive kiosk in the upper parking lot and paving the rest of the upper trail.

A drinking fountain planned for next year near the lower trail section will offer water to hikers at Fish Creek. Furthermore, interpretive signs will be placed along all the paths in the Fish Creek trail system.

"The whole focus is water," Germann said of the signs, which will display information on where it comes from, how it's recycled, it's historical and present day use.

All of the work is expected to be finished by fall of next year.

"Next summer will be the last summer of inconvenience in that area," Germann said.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail dcrowl@amigo.net

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