Summer forecast: Muddy with sluggish tourism
SUMMIT COUNTY – On the heels of a less-than-spectacular winter, the expectation of dry summer with a lake far below its normal, eye-pleasing levels has many county officials and business owners nervous.
“I’m not trying to be a naysayer, but I think we have some serious issues out there,” said County Commissioner Tom Long. “We’re looking at mud flats. Unless we develop mud-bogging competitions or something that brings a different type of folk, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to be a long, hot, dry summer, and nobody’s going to enjoy it much.”
Lake levels are expected to crest at 10 to 15 feet below normal, leaving the Frisco Bay Marina far from normal operations, and the entire lake visually deficient from the pristine mountain reservoir of years past.
Dillon Town Manager Julie Boyd said Dillon officials have some grave concerns about the coming summer. Dillon is a lakeside town that lays low during the winter months, thriving on summer marina business and outdoor concerts on the shores of Lake Dillon.
“We’re concerned generally about the flattening we’ve been seeing in sales and revenues through the winter season,” Boyd said. “We don’t expect this will help.”
But Boyd and other county business people see plenty of bright spots in the gloomy summer forecast.
Reservoirs statewide are expected to fill to lower than normal levels. And that, Boyd said, means Dillon’s appearance won’t be unique.
“That will be the situation everywhere,” she said. “I think Dillon Marina will be one of the better situated (marinas). It’s real possible we’ll have the only functional boat ramp in the county. And if it’s really hot and dry in Denver, people may still find it refreshing to come up here.”
Travis Holton, who operates the Tiki Bar at the Dillon Marina, said he isn’t worried.
“Luckily, Dillon Marina has deep water,” he said. “In my opinion, with everything Summit County has to offer, and the fact we do have a marina that does have plenty of dock space and deep water, I think we’re going to have our best summer yet at Dillon. The pristine quality won’t be as nice with 50 feet of shoreline, but we’ll get to see some things we haven’t seen in a while. There’s nothing like a beach.”
Frisco Mayor Bob Moscatelli said the town council is doing everything it can to help the Frisco Bay Marina operations stay afloat this summer.
“We just appropriated the funds to give (marina operator Bernie Baltich) 60 additional moorings, which will give an opportunity for a bunch of boat owners to put their boats in the water, but it monumentally complicates things because he and his staff are going to have to shuttle people out to their boats,” he said.
On the bright side, Moscatelli said, the low levels allow Denver Water to do some dam repairs originally slated for 2003. Infrastructure on the Lakefront Park development also is set for summer, which the mayor said will be “somewhat of a mess.” It may be best, he said, to get both tasks done during a less-than-ideal summer.
While the marina area is dry, the town of Frisco also is working to make it a bit deeper. A contractor has been hired to remove 6,000 yards of dirt – about 300 truckloads – through the end of this week, according to town officials.
“I’m sure there’s going to be an adverse affect (from the low water),” Moscatelli said. “But we’ve got an awful lot of other things going on in Frisco this summer that will attract people – Music on Main and the barbecue contest – and two new events. I’m optimistic those will offset some of the predictable adverse effect the low water’s going to have.”
Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at email@example.com
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