Boating season on Three Lakes ends as state closes last two ramps

Boating season on Grand County’s Three Lakes has come to a close for the year.

On Dec. 2, officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife closed off the Grand Lake Boat Ramp and the Stillwater Boat Ramp on Lake Granby ending the 2019 boating season as ice begins to develop on the local lakes. Representatives from Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced the impending closures late last week.

The announcement follows the closing of the Shadow Mountain Boat Ramp on Nov. 19, due to the development of ice on the relatively shallow body of water. Boating on the interconnected network of water bodies, part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado-Big Thompson Project, will resume next spring when inspections for the state’s Aquatic Nuisance Species program resume.

Officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife previously announced the Dec. 2 ramp closure in mid-September when plans to extended boat inspections on the Three Lakes through November were announced.

The official closure of boat ramps across the Three Lakes is new this year and is a direct result of the state’s concerns about two invasive species of bivalves, zebra mussels and quagga mussels. For the past several years Colorado Parks and Wildlife and other partners have funded a boat inspection regime at boat ramps throughout the Three Lakes and at dozens of other water bodies across the state. The inspection program would traditionally operate from mid-May to mid-October.

The dynamic changed in 2018 though when state officials decided to begin closing and locking the entrances to boat ramps when inspectors are not present. The move came after boat inspectors on the Three Lakes caught invasive mussels on multiple occasions. Additionally the Bureau of Reclamation is currently fighting a quagga mussel infestation in Green Mountain Reservoir south of Kremmling that was discovered in August 2017.

Boat ramps on the Three Lakes were initially scheduled to close in mid-October this year but a push from local citizens to keep the ramps open through November proved successful with state officials agreeing to provide inspectors until Dec. 2

As the boat ramps on the Three Lakes are locked for the season many anglers are preparing for the coming winter and the development of lake ice thick enough to allow for winter fishing. Weather permitting the ice fishing season in Grand County typically begins around Christmas and lasts into April.

State officials plan to reopen the boat ramps on the Three Lakes complex in Spring 2019, after lake ice on the three water bodies melts away.

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