Campers should bring water until wells recharge |

Campers should bring water until wells recharge

SUMMIT COUNTY – Local U.S. Forest Service campgrounds aren’t having the same water quality issues as other sites throughout the state. But it’s primarily because wells that supply the campgrounds have yet to recharge.

The water quality hasn’t changed, but regulations regarding its potability have. Water in affected campgrounds is still suitable for flushing toilets and dousing campfires, but signs on spigots read, “Use of this water for other purposes is not considered safe.”

Forest Service officials said there have been no reports of anyone getting sick from the water, but they posted the signs to limit the agency’s liability in case someone did.

“Overall our water situation is meager,” said Howard Scott, recreation technician for the Dillon Ranger District. “It’s recovering, but it’s threatened and endangered. If it keeps raining, we could come out of this.”

Forest Service officials advise people to bring their own water until the wells recharge, but water is available on a limited basis at some of Summit County’s sites.

Potable water is available through hand-pump wells at all the Forest Service campgrounds in the Lower Blue, including McDonald Flats, Prairie Point and Blue River. Scott said campers should take extra precautions and filter or boil the water.

The town of Frisco provides municipal water to Heaton Bay campground.

The well at Lowry Campground on Swan Mountain Road, which provides water to Windy Point and Prospector Point campgrounds, has yet to recover, so concessionaires are trucking potable water from Glenwood Springs.

That, however, is expensive, Scott said. Including transportation costs, the water hauled from Glenwood Springs – the only place in the state that meets the new state guidelines – costs 10 cents per gallon. And Forest Service officials recently realized their 30-year-old distribution system is leaking between 500 and 600 gallons of water per day.

Water at the Peak One Campground on the Frisco peninsula is being treated by a technician and dispensed from a holding tank to campsites on a limited basis. Those who forget to bring their own water can obtain water from campground hosts.

To make reservations at a Forest Service campground in Summit County, call toll-free (877) 444-6777 or go to

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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