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RV resorts welcomed in many communities

Tamara Miller

Whenever Larry Wiggins wants to escape from the heat in his hometown of Houston, he and his wife load their sleek, gray recreational vehicle and drive to Breckenridge’s Tiger Run RV Resort, where the cooler mountain air is a welcome change.”It’s probably 96, 97 degrees in Houston right now,” Wiggins said. Wiggins, who used to seek solace by driving his RV all the way to Canada, is happy to call Breckenridge his second home now.”We like Breckenridge because it’s quaint,” he said. “It’s not like Vail or Beaver Creek.”Neither is Minturn. Despite rapid growth and development in most parts of Eagle County, Minturn, for the most part, has held onto it’s historically pastoral character. But many fear that bringing a RV resort to town could put an end to that. It appears that the answer to that question will likely be decided by Minturn’s residents.The Town Council passed a resolution two weeks ago that would place the future of the proposed project on the ballot. The council must approve that measure again tonight to allow voters to consider the issue in the November election. The long-debated project seemed all but dead after voters last spring overwhelmingly elected the two most vocal opponents to the idea – Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty and Councilman Tom Sullivan. In addition to concerns about the project’s impact on the town, residents attending town meeting have cited several concerns: increased traffic, noise and light pollution. Nevertheless, the proposed RV park – which would be built on town-owned land – has remained alive. One things is clear, however. RVers clearly will drive long distances to spend some time in Colorado. Parked in sites near Wiggins were cars and RVs with license plates from Oregon, Texas, Montana and Florida. Message boards on RV-user Web sites rate Colorado resorts highly. Several users on one site gave Tiger Run’s resort a 10 rating on a 1 to 10 scale. The developer for Minturn’s proposed resort, Rocky Mountain RV Resorts, has said that Tiger Run’s second phase closely resembles their plans for Minturn’s resort. The buildings in Tiger Run are primarily log structures. Each RV site has landscaped borders, a log-style storage shed and a small log-style structure that provides electricity to the occupying RV. The log-sided cabins, called “chalets,” line a river. Some have outdoor fireplaces. All of them are bordered by a small lawn and landscaping. In the center of the resort there is a pavilion, a lodge building with a pool and tennis courts. An administrative office sits at the entrance to the resort and a monitored gate controls access. There are 400 chalets and RV sites at the resort. Some are for sale, the others are for rent. Despite the amenities and the convenience of bringing your own home with you when you vacation, RVers don’t spend the entire time at the resort. Estes Park has several RV resorts, including two built and operated by Rocky Mountain RV Resorts. Sharleen Westfield, president of the Estes Park Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said RV users spend plenty of time in the town. “RVers need to eat,” she said. “They don’t just cook over the campfire all the time.”Westfield dismissed any claims that RVs may make traffic worse in Estes Park, which already gets its share of visitors as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.”They don’t make traffic any worse,” she said. “That’s totally untrue.”Businesses benefit from RV users, but what about Estes Park’s residents?”We’ve had no complaints that I’m aware of,” said Richard Widmer, town administrator. “One of (resorts) is adjacent to some residential areas. One is pretty far away.”Wiggins gets into his Hummer to check out nearby towns. He and his wife went to Breckenridge for breakfast that morning and had already been to Silverthorne several times during their stay to do some shopping.He and his wife make the trip to Colorado in summer and winter. Nearby attractions are key, Wiggins said. “We play golf, we like to ski,” he said. “The people here are friendly.”Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com.Vail Colorado


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