Public input sought about Stagecoach State Park |

Public input sought about Stagecoach State Park

Open house to discuss management plan update

Mike Lawrence

— Stagecoach State Park had about 135,000 visitors from June 2008 to July 2009.

Park officials are hoping at least a few of those folks attend a public meeting tonight to talk about plans for the park's future.

The park is hosting an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Stagecoach Firehouse on Routt County Road 16 in the South Routt County neighborhood. The event is the first of three public meetings this year to discuss an update to the Stagecoach State Park Management Plan, which Park Manager Craig Preston said guides everything from recreational opportunities to facility changes, land use decisions and more.

"Getting the public involved is obviously essential to this kind of document," Preston said.

Scott Babcock, planning manager for Colorado State Parks, said the update would guide the park's next decade.

"The management plan kind of serves as the basis for park planning, budget, development, management and administration," he said. "This will help provide a vision for where the park will go in the future. Public input is one part of the process."

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Preston said the park's visitors include people from diverse locations with diverse interests ranging from camping, fishing and boating to bird watching, swimming and participating in the park's many summer youth programs.

"Absolutely, we've got some regular users that are from the immediate area … but then a pretty dedicated group that comes up from the Front Range, and then we also have quite a few out-of-state folks that come in to camp and fish, that kind of stuff," Preston said. "We have a variety of opportunities."

Babcock said Colorado has 42 state parks, nearly all of which need a management plan update. Stagecoach is the third park to undergo the process this time around, he said.

Preston said the park's plan was last updated about 10 years ago.

He said tonight's meeting would provide a general overview of the update process, with all suggestions and ideas from the public welcome. Another meeting will occur in mid-summer, he said. A draft update could be available in time for a third meeting planned for the fall, he said.

An example of park improvements that could come from the update, Preston said, could be a visitors center at Stagecoach State Park, which currently provides such services out of a small office attached to its shop.

Babcock cautioned that all components of the plan update would be dependent on state funding, which the economic recession has severely affected.

"Park enhancements or improvements identified in the management plan may or may not be implemented in the future, depending on funding and staffing needs," he said.

Babcock said in the past year, Colorado State Parks has cut 12 full-time positions and "reduced seasonal staffing considerably." He said the cuts have translated into a reduction of some services, such as regulation enforcement and trash hauling, at some parks.

Babcock said the seasonal staffing cuts were across the board and likely affected Routt County's state parks: Stagecoach, Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake state parks in North Routt, and Yampa River State Park in West Routt.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail

If you go

What: An open house for public input on an upcoming update to the Stagecoach State Park Management Plan

When: 6 to 8 p.m. today

Where: Stagecoach Firehouse, 23655 Routt County Road 16 in Stagecoach

Contact: Call the park at 970-736-2436 for more information.

Online: Learn more about Stagecoach State Park here.

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