Carbondale boat ramp closure is causing concern
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Kyle Holt is one person concerned with the recent closure of the ever-popular Koziel Boat Ramp near the Roaring Fork Bridge at the entrance to Carbondale.
“I don’t think very many people know about it right now,” Holt said. “But it’s closed, and I’m not sure what happened.”
According to Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton, the ramp was closed in June when the 10-year-lease agreement expired between the DOW and the landowners, Stanley and Valerie Koziel of Carbondale.
“It wasn’t getting much use in the early part of the year with the high water levels,” Hampton said. “But as the water came down we are getting in a little bit of a pinch with people wanting to use it.”
Holt, a local fishing guide, said that if the ramp remains closed it would not only affect his fishing business but would have an impact on the entire Roaring Fork Valley community who uses the put-in as a launching site for commercial and private rafting, tubing, kayaking and commercial and private anglers, too.
But hopefully it won’t come to that, according to Perry Wills, DOW area manager in Glenwood Springs. Wills said that the DOW and the Koziels are in negotiations on a lease agreement for the access point.
“The Koziels are in possession of the lease agreement, but we do not have a signed lease yet,” Wills said.
With no signed agreement in place the Koziels are liable. The access can’t be reopened until another lease agreement is in place protecting them from being liable if anyone is injured at the site. The Koziels could not be reached on Tuesday for comment.
Wills said the DOW and the Koziels have had a good working relationship through the years and that he expects to have an agreement in place within a couple of weeks.
“I do anticipate they would agree to let us use the access again,” Wills said.
Speculation that the town of Carbondale has expressed interest in purchasing the property couldn’t be confirmed Tuesday. According to Wills, the process has taken a little extra time because the Koziels didn’t want to sign another long-term lease as they have in the past. However, Wills said, as of Tuesday the DOW was awaiting a response from the Koziels on a year-by-year agreement.
“They were agreeable to do that, but it just takes time,” Wills said. “The Koziels have been very good working with us.”
Wills said that a best-case scenario could reopen the access as soon as July 18, but he could not guarantee that it would be open by then.
Wills did agree with Holt that the Koziel boat ramp is one of the more heavily used ramps in the Roaring Fork Valley, and maybe the state.
“We would have a predicament without the lease, because a lot of commercial boaters, rafting companies, fishing outfitters use that ramp,” Wills said. “I would guess that it’s one of the highest use boat ramps in the state.”
With this ramp closed down, the DOW still has three other access points along the Roaring Fork River between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. The West Bank Boat Ramp on County Road 109 where the bridge crosses the river and two other walk-in access points, the Burry Lease near mile marker 9 on Highway 82 and the Aspen Glen easement, located just south of Aspen Glen subdivision near Carbondale.
The areas are considered state wildlife areas and require a habitat stamp for people to use them.