Junk storage area has been converted to a Colorado River outpost in Dotsero | VailDaily.com

Junk storage area has been converted to a Colorado River outpost in Dotsero

DOTSERO — When Eagle County Open Space purchased the Dotsero Landing in 2011, the idea was to provide more access to the Colorado River.

The section of river upstream from State Bridge was seeing more than 10 times the amount of visits than the section from State Bridge to Dotsero, and the Bureau of Land Management cited a lack of access as the reason.

"There was never any buzz about that stretch of river," former Open Space director Toby Sprunk told the Vail Daily, in reference to the purchase in 2011.

Over the next few years, more access points were added and visitors started increasing significantly. It caught the attention of the local river dwellers at Sage Outdoor Adventures.

"This area became the new hot new section of the Colorado River that people were using," said Joe Tomasic, with Sage.

Adjacent to the Dotsero Landing open space, a junkyard and storage area was the only commercial activity in the area, and it wasn't pretty.

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Sage started reaching out to the owners of the land to see if there was more that could be done to create a synergy with the new influx of river users.

"The storage facility just wasn't the right use for the land," Tomasic said. "We kept thinking it would be logical place for a river outpost."

They pictured something where guests could pick up the items you need on the river — patch kits, dry bags, eyewear retainers, etc. — along with a restaurant and rental shop.

A few years later, that vision is becoming a reality.

RIVER OUTPOST

Sage Outdoor Adventures acquired the storage area adjacent to Dotsero Landing this spring and immediately started hauling discarded items out of the site.

"This place was pretty run down," Tomasic said from Dotsero in June. "We removed 35,000 pounds of debris — batteries, port a potties, ovens, there was 250 tires laying here. We spent thousands of dollars in man hours removing trash."

Sage Outdoor Adventures' river outpost is now starting to take form. It's offering rentals — tubes, stand-up paddleboards, rafts, life jackets and wet suits — helping guests prepare for self-guided attractions in that area of the river. It's also offering a shuttle service.

"It's a great area for stand-up paddleboarding because the rapids aren't quite as big as what you'll find upstream from State Bridge," Tomasic said. "It's also a premo tubing spot because, being that much further down river, the water is warmer. Also with the freeway right here at the takeout, it's really convenient — easy on, easy off."

OLD RIVER, NEW STREAM

Sage expects to break ground soon on a restaurant for the area, as well.

"Being just a few hundred feet from the water, we know people want to get off the river and have a little meal and a nicer bathroom area to use," Tomasic said. "Hopefully we'll get a liquor license and we can have cold beers waiting, as well."

They also want to add a pavilion, where live music will greet guests as they end their day.

Between the restaurant and bar, rental shop and river shop, Tomasic said a new sales tax stream will be created for the county, helping to recoup some of the $650,000 that was spent on the Dotsero Landing open space.

"Dotsero is really coming into its day," he said.

Learn more

Colorado River Sports is the name of the new Sage Outdoor Adventures outpost in Dotsero. Get off Interstate 70 at exit 133 and you can’t miss it. For more information, call 970-476-3700.