BLM will require permits for river stretch

QUICKREAD

Permits for the Ruby-Horsethief stretch of the Colorado River

1. How do I obtain a permit?

Camping permits for Friday and Saturday nights will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis by the Grand Junction Field Office, 2815 H Road, 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. Weekend permits can be requested in person at the office or over the phone and must be picked up at the office. A phone number eventually will be posted on the BLM’s website. Weekday, day use and motorized use permits will be self-issued at the Loma boat launch. Permits aren’t yet available online. Weekend permits can be obtained beginning the Monday 60 days before the weekend of use.

2. What do the permits cost?

Camping permits will be free this year but likely will cost in 2013. Cost will range from $25 to $100, depending upon the size of the group. Day- and motorized-use permits are free.

3. How will the fees be spent?

Fees will be used to meet the increasing demands for services such as maintenance of recreation sites, resource protection, riparian restoration, enhanced information and education and law enforcement.

4. What happens if I don’t obtain a permit?

Failing to obtain the required permit violates the BLM’s public lands regulations. The minimum fine is $150 for private individuals and $500 for commercial users.

5. How do I obtain more information?

Log onto http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo.html, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 970-244-3000. A weekend-permit-availability calendar will be posted to the website during the permit period.



The thousands of river enthusiasts who run the Colorado River and camp along its banks between Loma and Westwater, Utah, every year soon will have to apply for permits for both activities, as federal land managers try to gain a handle on the burgeoning use of the area.

The Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday it will introduce a camping and day use and motorized use permit system for the Ruby- Horsethief stretch of the river. Permits will be required between May 1 and Sept. 30. Camping permits will be free this year and will cost beginning in 2013. Day- and motorized-use permits will be free.

BLM officials say they’ve seen significant growth in the use of the river over the last decade and worked with private boaters and outfitters over several years to develop the permit system.

“What you had is more people wanting to go down there than there were campsites available. You had no guarantee you had a site, and that doesn’t make for as good of an experience,” BLM spokesman David Boyd said. “What you also had is people camped wherever they could. There are some sensitive areas there, and we were getting some damage to vegetation.”

Camping will be limited to 35 established sites, with 29 being available for private boaters and the balance available to outfitters.

More than 9,500 Ruby- Horsethief visitors registered at the Loma boat launch, and more than 20,000 nights of camping were recorded along that stretch of river in 2010, according to the BLM.

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