Boating season begins at Elkhead Reservoir May 11
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Elkhead Reservoir's boat ramp will open May 11, signaling the start of the motorized boating season at the popular reservoir located near Craig. Boaters from across the region are invited to travel to Elkhead Reservoir and Yampa River State Park and enjoy world-class outdoor recreation, including fishing, boating, camping and water skiing.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds boaters to prepare for the season by making sure their watercraft is safe and has all required safety equipment on board and in good working order. In addition, boaters must register their craft and purchase the new aquatic nuisance species stamp.
Although the weather has warmed, park personnel remind boaters that early season conditions exist, including very cold water and floating debris.
"Safety is our number one priority, at all times," said Senior Park Ranger Mark Lehman. "We are here to help you with any question, but we will also enforce all of our laws, including boating under the influence and required safety gear. Lifejackets are critical, so if anyone forgets theirs, we have a loaner program at the park. We'll be happy to lend you a PFD for the day."
CPW reminds all boaters that watercraft launched out of state must be inspected prior to launching in any Colorado waters. This includes boat parts brought into the state. In addition, all trailered and/or motorized watercraft must be professionally inspected by state certified personnel before launching, as required. The goal is keeping invasive, aquatic nuisance species out of Colorado.
Although Colorado has not seen a full-blown infestation of quagga and zebra mussels, the possibility continues to threaten the state's municipal, agricultural and industrial water supply. Because the mussels propagate by the billions - as they have in many waters across the country - their immense numbers can severely clog water delivery and power generation infrastructure, leading to expensive mitigation costs that could be passed on to the public.
"Even if only one boater launches illegally, the water resources we all enjoy is put at severe risk," said Lehman. "We are doing all we can to keep these pests out of Colorado, but the public must cooperate. We ask for everyone to do their part voluntarily, but we remind the public there are fines for violating the state's boating laws."
Until further notice, ANS inspection hours at Elkhead Reservoir are as follows:
May - 7 a.m.- 9.p.m.
June/July - 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
August - 6 a.m.- 9 p.m.
September (after Labor Day) - 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Boaters can contact Yampa River State Park at 970-276-2061 with any boating related questions or inquire about safety equipment required for boating.