Summit County rowing community urges marina improvements | SummitDaily.com

Summit County rowing community urges marina improvements

Paige Blankenbuehler
summit daily news

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

FRISCO – Low water levels in Dillon Reservoir are prompting the rowing community to urge the town of Frisco to move forward with marina upgrades, which include dredge work that would help sustain business during drought years.

The Frisco Marina staff and Frisco Rowing Center are gathering support to urge council to approve Phase II upgrades in the marina master plan, where dredging work would prevent the water from moving as far from the dock as it did this year.

The construction would direct water closer to the marina and dock so that it would remain there during years where water levels recede from launching sites.

“This is a great opportunity, one that has not presented itself since 2002,” said Phil Hofer, Frisco Marina manager. “We have to look at the water levels and do this dredge work when they are low enough for long enough.”

Hofer said that the current conditions are ideal and show a glimpse of a brief period that would be ideal in moving forward with upgrades.

“I’m really trying to push for the fall of 2012 because the spring of 2013 might have a lot of snow that could keep this from happening,” Hofer said.

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To make the improvements a reality, the marina needs the financial assistance of the town.

“Whether or not we move forward with this right now is all up to my supervisors,” Hofer said. “If they don’t feel that this is prudent right now or financially feasible then it’s not. I support the town’s decision, but we might not see another opportunity for a long time – this is all weather and water level dependent and now is a great time as far as conditions are concerned.”

Avid recreationalists who utilize the Frisco Marina say the upgrades would extend their season, provide the community with improved facilities and limit difficult launching during drought years.

“The future plans are to build a boat house and docks right off the dock so we won’t have to walk down the road to launch our boats, which are very cumbersome to carry,” said Joanne Stolen, president of Frisco Rowing Center. “Members of the rowing community are walking all the way down that road carrying boats. We’ve moved the dock so many times during this drought year – we need the dredging work to be done so that water levels never drop this low again.”

Though the council has not discussed completing the project this fall, it is planning on adding it to the agenda, according to Mayor Gary Wilkinson

“We’re not sure if there is enough time left to do it this fall,” Wilkinson said. “We have to consider the funding for this as well and see what the marina has available and what they are able to do – we still have much to discuss as a council.”

Currently, the reservoir is down 23 feet from annual averages and the ramp is closed for the season so boaters have to launch from the Dillon Marina.

“The marina is one of the highlights of Frisco,” Stolen said. “During this drought year it’s become an eyesore – with the upgrades we could put the marina in a better position for drought years and keep the business in Frisco.”

The last time the reservoir experienced levels as low as this year was following the 2002 drought year.

“This is the second worse I’ve ever seen water levels at Dillon Reservoir, compared to 2002 at that point the water was about a half-mile from the marina,” said Tim Jenkins, treasurer of the Frisco Rowing Center. “Low water levels cut down on the town business because they have a difficult time renting out boats and kayaks and the launching ramp can not be used.”

The low water levels also affect the length of the season for boaters.

“Our season lasts as long as we can stand it. We usually see people rowing in November but this year I doubt anyone will row any later than mid-October. In the spring it takes a while for the reservoir to get back to normal levels … Next year it will take a long time – we probably won’t get out until mid-June.”