Grand County boating season kicks off with opening of Stillwater Ramp |

Grand County boating season kicks off with opening of Stillwater Ramp

With this week’s opening of a single boat ramp on Lake Granby, some may be getting an early start to the summer season.

Stillwater Boat Ramp on Lake Granby officially opened for the season May 1, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. The move came a little less than a week after CPW announced plans to open multiple boat ramps across Grand County by mid-May.

Plans are to open the boat ramp on Williams Fork Reservoir, located west of Hot Sulphur Springs off County Road 3, on May 11. The following Friday, May 17, the Sunset Boat Ramp on Lake Granby is planned to open. The Arapaho Bay Boat Ramp, also on Lake Granby, will remain closed to trailered and motorized watercraft this year, according to CPW.

Scheduled to open for the summer boating season, on May 17, will be Grand Lake’s public boat ramp and the Green Ridge Boat Ramp on Shadow Mountain Reservoir.

Once open, hours of operation for all ramps are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, said CPW officials.

Opening and closing dates for the boat ramps in Grand County are still something of a new paradigm in Middle Park.

John Hall, Colorado Parks and Wildlife boat inspector at the Stillwater boat launch on Lake Granby, displays a vile of invasive mussels taken from a boat during an inspection in June 2016.
File photo / Andrew Wise

Until 2018, boat ramps in Grand County remained open outside the summer high season, but ongoing concerns about potential infestations of invasive mussels prompted the Bureau of Reclamation, which has authority over the lakes, to change its policy.

Under the policy, adopted in 2018, all boat ramps must remained closed and locked whenever a boat inspector is not present. No motorized boats are allowed to launch onto the waters of Grand County without first being inspected for invasive aquatic species, specifically quagga and zebra mussels.

The opening and closing of boat ramps in Grand County, and required boat inspections, are all part of a special state wide program operated by CPW that hopes to prevent the continued spread of invasive mussels in Colorado. Under the program, called the Aquatic Nuisance Species program, state funds are provided to establish boat inspection sites at boat ramps across the state. All boaters on Colorado’s waters are also required to purchase an Aquatic Nuisance Species stamp, which helps cover costs related to the program.

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