Grand Lake considers starting water shuttle
Visitors to Grand Lake could find a new means of transportation across Colorado’s largest natural body of water next summer if town officials decide to move forward with a proposal for a new water shuttle.
Grand Lake trustees on Monday heard an initial proposal for a potential future water shuttle that would take riders from the public boat dock just west of the Grand Lake Marina to the East Inlet near the trailheads leading to Adams Falls and other locations in Rocky Mountain National Park. The proposal, developed by Grand Lake Town Planner Nate Shull, is in the early stages of development.
Shull sought feedback from the board regarding how — and if — the board wanted to proceed with additional development of a more detailed plan.
“What I am hoping to gain from you is an understanding of which direction we want to go,” Shull said to the board. “Do we like it, is there something that is keeping it from potentially starting. We may want to hold off a couple of years. There are a lot of considerations.”
Shull noted in his presentation that multiple planning documents, including the Grand County Master Plan, Northwest Coordinated Transportation and Human Services Plan and the Gateway Community Livability Assessment and Recommendations Report, all support the development of some form of water transportation on the lake.
Shull outlined a series of details about what a future water shuttle would look like if the town decides to move forward with developing the service. Travel time between the town dock and the East Inlet was estimated to take between six to eight minutes.
The service would operate from roughly mid-May through mid-September and would require at least three employees to operate. Shull noted the town already possesses a 20-foot Encore Bentley pontoon boat that could be used for the water shuttle. The boat can accommodate up to 14 passengers at a time.
Grand Lake Trustee Andy Murphy raised questions regarding whether such a service should be operated by a private business or concessionaire as opposed to the town itself. Murphy said he would prefer the town lease out such a service to a private business rather than having town staff handle the duties.
The board took no official action regarding the proposal Monday night though officials expressed interest in looking into the subject more extensively.
“I think this will be an item we put on our budget hearings,” Grand Lake Mayor Jim Peterson said.
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