A new access point on the Uncompahgre River put in by the City of Montrose now gives residents and visitors better access to experience more of that Colorado water.
The city led a town run Thursday afternoon down the Uncompahgre River to celebrate the opening of the new boat launch. The new spot is located off the north end of Chipeta Lake. The run started there and ended up south at the West Main Bridge.
A handful of residents and city employees took part in the opening with those riding in watercrafts ranging from a single-person kayak to multi-person raft.
Montrose Surf and Kayak co-owner Bill Glasscock said this new access point gives easier entrance for those to enjoy more of the river.
“It’s great to have this down here,” Glasscock said. “... People can come out and enjoy their backyard. This is an awesome backyard run.”
The City of Montrose’s parks division — with assistance from Public Works and community members — designed the river put-in. It was determined to be used by small watercraft which include kayaks, stand up paddle boards, inflatables and small rafts.
In late April, the city, along with help from local contractor Haynes Excavation, installed a gate, roadway improvements, turn-around area, picnic area and boat ramp.
Parks and Special Projects Superintendent John Malloy said in a press release that increasing flows on the Uncompahgre River make this time prime to use these kinds of recreational access.
“Improvements to the river access at Chipeta Lake Park will help facilitate the use of our town run on the Uncompahgre River,” Malloy said.
Access to the access point near Chipeta Lake is open between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. This area is meant as a loading and unloading location for boaters and walk-in users.
Vehicles are not allowed to drive down to the river’s edge.
This access area is one of three river access points the city has completed over the past three years. There’s currently a ramp at the West Main Trailhead as well as one at Taviwach Park.
Several years ago, Montrose revamped a portion of Baldridge Park into the Montrose Water Sports Park, which offers users a gradient of 11 feet for 1/5 miles, supporting a leisurely run with natural obstacles. It was designed for people with all levels of experience in the water — from those wanting to get their ankles wet to expert kayakers and anglers.
Glasscock said by the city’s work on accessing the river allows better use of the water.
“We’ve got some nice changes that have been taking place and will continue to be taking place,” he said.
Glasscock said he hopes that more points are created in the future so more people can enjoy more of the water.
But he also warned residents to take caution when going down the Uncompahgre.
The river has several hills and inclines which means the water is swifter than other places, Glasscock explained. He added for anyone wanting to go rafting need to know how to self-rescue which “is something every boater should always learn.”
He added, as someone who’s gone through that stretch in the past, residents need to be careful about certain parts.
“She’s swift, she’s shallow, rocky and cold,” Glasscock said.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.