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Eldo parking plan public input


Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 295

Ranger, I didn’t say “all”, I said “most”.  But I might be stretching it with “most”, and you make a good point about wanting to walk amongst the cliffs.

As someone who does all the activities we are talking about, I’m just looking for the least crappy solution for all of the users.  And you may call this snobby or selfish, but Eldo isn’t White Ranch.  It isn’t Eben G. Fine.  It isn’t Chatfield.

Mark A · · Golden, CO · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 91
Nathan Sullivan wrote:

There was a Colorado State Parks lady surveying people last time I was climbing there - she asked what we were doing (Climbing of course!), how many cars and people per car we had, and some other really pertinent questions.

I think they are gathering that data at least.

Ditto, one of the many times I've been there they were surveying.  She said they wanted climber info and values the community but at the same time this A/B plan seems to be the outcome at this point and neither seem to work well to my eyes.  The shuttle bus is the only good idea I see.  Will I pay a day permit?  Sure but it will drastically limit the number of times I'd want to visit, particularly so depending on how you actually acquire these things.  Perhaps though that is the goal.

Tony B · · Around Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 23,352
Jim Turner wrote:

Good points.  My intention with my comment is that if it is mostly hikers illegally parking in town, then a good idea might be to work with Boulder County to expand the parking lots east of town, charge a fee there, then build connector trails into Eldo trails. 

Maybe, but if you followed the bike connector trail stuff (which is what ACTUALLY started all of this), you'd probably arrive at the conclusion that the City and County are already not planning on expanding parking...
And already throttling parking to "mitigate" visitation.

When I directly questioned them at a public hearing last year about expanding parking, particularly at these locations,  the 3x agencies' representatives said it was not on the table or to be a part of the scope of the discussion.
Perhaps times have changed?  But I doubt it.

Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 295

Darn, that limits the State’s options, considering there is little to no space within the narrow canyon to do much to add parking or widen the road to handle more hikers and vehicles.  The state is between a rock and a hard place.

Tony B · · Around Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 23,352
Jim Turner wrote: Darn, that limits the State’s options, considering there is little to no space within the narrow canyon to do much to add parking or widen the road to handle more hikers and vehicles.  The state is between a rock and a hard place.

I asked some park folks.  The general reply I got was that expanding into the watershed was nearly impossible via regulatory problems, and that while they could gain a few spots via reconfiguration of existing areas, there was not much to be had inside the park.  It was this issue, at least in part, that more or less killed the walker ranch MTB trails progress just last year.

So yeah, between a rock and a hard place... or a rock and a river, perhaps.

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55
Jim Turner wrote: I said “if” it’s hikers.  It might be climbers.

Regardless, if I am hiking I don’t really care if I have to start at point A or point B, since I’m going for mileage or hours.  For climbing it makes a lot of difference where I park.  I would think this same logic applies to most climbers and hikers, especially since hiking there doesn’t get you to a destination such as a peak (or does it?).

And I’m not saying to ban hikers from parking in Eldo.  I’m saying to improve their experience with a better place to park that doesn’t result in them hiking on the road.  Incentivize it by charging them for parking but waiving the park entrance fee.  Other state parks don’t charge hikers and walkers.

As far as preference,  I just don’t think a very average picnic experience should be given the same preference points as a national climbing destination.

You perhaps may not be typical of most of the hiking population I have seen when leaving from South Mesa trailhead parking. It's a pretty good mix of trail runners, people walking dogs, people walking their kids, people heading up to South Boulder or Bear Peak -- relatively short out-and-back, not through hiking or doing the Skyline Traverse.

And trying to get a spot in the lots you circled there after 7:30 can be ridiculous.

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50

I would think that being a user group that actively dedicated time and resources over many decades to enhancing the canyon, we’d get some preferential treatment over dog walkers and hikers.

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 2
Dirt Squirrel wrote: I would think that being a user group that actively dedicated time and resources over many decades to enhancing the canyon, we’d get some preferential treatment over dog walkers and hikers.

isn't a lot of that "enhancement" specifically for the purposes of rock climbing? In any event, it seems like one would want to prioritize use by groups that have the least impact on the canyon-- my guess is that would be hikers, not rock climbers... 

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 2

A perspective from a california-based climber who has climbed in the boulder area a few times:

You are starting to face the consequences of continued population growth + popularity of outdoor activities. It was inevitable that the super-accessible climbing areas near boulder would become over-run by users, and that policies would need to change. The solutions required aren't going to make anyone happy, and will require compromise by all user groups. Climbers are not a special user group, and shouldn't be treated preferentially. Frankly, it has always amazed me the extent to which we, as climbers, expect full freedom to practice our sport on public land (eg. establish rock climbs wherever we want, establish climber trails wherever we want, clear rock and foliage off of walls, etc...), yet expect all other users (hikers, dog walkers, mtb'er, etc...) to play by a different set of rules. 

kevin murphy · · Longtuckity, CO · Joined Feb 2005 · Points: 365
Dirt Squirrel wrote: I would think that being a user group that actively dedicated time and resources over many decades to enhancing the canyon, we’d get some preferential treatment over dog walkers and hikers.

That is incredibly small minded. From an avid dog hiker!

David Appelhans · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 410
Tony B wrote:

I asked some park folks.  The general reply I got was that expanding into the watershed was nearly impossible via regulatory problems, and that while they could gain a few spots via reconfiguration of existing areas, there was not much to be had inside the park.  It was this issue, at least in part, that more or less killed the walker ranch MTB trails progress just last year.

So yeah, between a rock and a hard place... or a rock and a river, perhaps.

Or, if they got rid of the gate altogether and scrapped the second gate idea, they could have lots of room for parking. Making walk-in free makes paid parking established in town by businesses more feasible.

Jean Aschenbrenner · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

I attended meeting Monday 9/9.  Discussion groups focused on reviewing two scenarios.  Same as online survey.  I think that they mostly want general reactions and that the scenarios were chosen just to get comments, not that they would be implemented.  To not get people upset, for discussion, Restrictions would be ONLY on weekends and holidays when park is overcrowded.  
1. Parking RESERVATIONS would be required, made AHEAD OF TIME, online or phone.  You sign up for a window of 1 or 2 hours (I forget) when you would arrive.  No limit how long you stay.  A limited number of people can enter during each 2-hour window.  Statistics suggest times people stay so they will make assumption about when parking place will be freed up.  Cost like $9-$27,  discounted if you have a park pass.  If someone does not use reservation,  parking place goes unused.   So you could just make lots of reservations IN CASE and then decide which to use.  If you can afford it.
2.  Shuttle bus from maybe CU and park-n-rides and at 93/70 jnct.  Stops at 3 places in park.   Runs every 15 or 20 min maybe.  Shuttle holds 15 people.  PLUS parking with reservations only this time with a 4 or 8 hours limit on how long you can stay.   Shuttle might end at 5pm (when most people are done).  So I figure that some climbers drive in and you can hitch out with them - OH, but their cars are already overflowing.  The number of parking reservations available would be decreased due to the increase in people entering via shuttle bus.
Your comments at the meeting or survey are critical!!!  Like remind them about packs on shuttle, not getting down in time for last shuttle ....
I think they ARE concerned about overall number of people, not just cars.   Makes sense so there is room to hike on the trails.  But they did not talk about limiting the walk-ins or the bikes entering.
If someone does not use reservation,  parking place goes unused.   So you could just make lots of reservations IN CASE and then decide which to use.  If you can afford it.  Some people probably can.  Comments on this would be useful.
On survey,  Give your REASONING, not just what you like & dislike.

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50

What about doing something like they do on centennial cone;  where every other day is a hike or mtb only day. That might solve a part of the issue.

Tony B · · Around Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 23,352
Jean Aschenbrenner wrote: I attended meeting Monday 9/9.  Discussion groups focused on reviewing two scenarios.  Same as online survey.  I think that they mostly want general reactions and that the scenarios were chosen just to get comments, not that they would be implemented.  To not get people upset, for discussion, Restrictions would be ONLY on weekends and holidays when park is overcrowded.  
1. Parking RESERVATIONS would be required, made AHEAD OF TIME, online or phone.  You sign up for a window of 1 or 2 hours (I forget) when you would arrive.  No limit how long you stay.  A limited number of people can enter during each 2-hour window.  Statistics suggest times people stay so they will make assumption about when parking place will be freed up.  Cost like $9-$27,  discounted if you have a park pass.  If someone does not use reservation,  parking place goes unused.   So you could just make lots of reservations IN CASE and then decide which to use.  If you can afford it.
2.  Shuttle bus from maybe CU and park-n-rides and at 93/70 jnct.  Stops at 3 places in park.   Runs every 15 or 20 min maybe.  Shuttle holds 15 people.  PLUS parking with reservations only this time with a 4 or 8 hours limit on how long you can stay.   Shuttle might end at 5pm (when most people are done).  So I figure that some climbers drive in and you can hitch out with them - OH, but their cars are already overflowing.  The number of parking reservations available would be decreased due to the increase in people entering via shuttle bus.
Your comments at the meeting or survey are critical!!!  Like remind them about packs on shuttle, not getting down in time for last shuttle ....
I think they ARE concerned about overall number of people, not just cars.   Makes sense so there is room to hike on the trails.  But they did not talk about limiting the walk-ins or the bikes entering.
If someone does not use reservation,  parking place goes unused.   So you could just make lots of reservations IN CASE and then decide which to use.  If you can afford it.  Some people probably can.  Comments on this would be useful.
On survey,  Give your REASONING, not just what you like & dislike.

Sure seems to be an effort to reduce visitation whilst increasing revenue.

Jon W · · Longmont Colorado · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 75
Tony B wrote:

Sure seems to be an effort to reduce visitation whilst increasing revenue.

Yes it does. Otherwise a first come-first served with a lower limit (wich is what they do now. more or less) would work fine and be the simplest and be no more cost. Why is than not proposed?


And, is this just during the summer months?
Magpie79 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 0
Patti Degner wrote: Of course doubling the day pass would be good for people who have annual passes, but I don't think the state parks will do that. I personally (and I think I speak for other climbers) get way more use out of my pass than $80. This means that the park is probably 'losing' money on me. I think you are right that most people who visit Eldo are doing so on day passes, and thier main revenue comes from these pricey day passes. If they increase the price of the day pass, it will decrease the number of people buying day passes, and it will likely decrease their overall revenue.

I also get way more use out of my annual pass than $80, so my cost per visit is very low. But I think (hope) that most climbers are being good stewards of the park. Many help with trail building or picking up any trash they find on the trails, so I think keeping the annual pass cost low is more than fair.

The park can accommodate far more people than cars, and that is the issue. I also do not want to pay more for parking above and beyond my annual pass. So the question is, how to keep people coming and at the same time mitigate the parking problem? 
I like the idea of increasing day pass cost. Maybe charge the current day pass price to people using the shuttle and double it for people driving in. There definitely needs to be a policy on how many "guests" can enter the park on one annual pass (maybe three plus the pass holder, since otherwise they would drive in). 
Make the shuttle convenient and cheaper than driving into the park and more people will use it. If it is a huge hassle and doesn't cost significantly less, it will cause a bunch of chaos with a rush on parking spaces.
Alan Coon · · Longmont, CO · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 175

Whats everyone thoughts on charging more for out-of-state folks?

George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,076
Alan Coon wrote: Whats everyone thoughts on charging more for out-of-state folks?

As an out-of-state climber who climbs at Eldo 1-2 times/year, but has done most of the "must-do" classics...

-I'd be willing to pay a little bit more for an entrance/parking fee.  Maybe up to $25 for my party as a whole for the day, including all entrance/parking/shuttle fees.  More than that I'd be awfully tempted to go to the Flatirons, Lumpy or the SPlatte instead.  My opinion on this would be the same if I lived in Colorado (though I'd buy a annual pass if I was local).

-I'd be happy to take a shuttle if it were available and convenient (as in Zion and Bear Lake).  Occasional late shuttles back (hourly?) would be really nice rather than racing to catch a 5pm bus.  It's pretty common for parties to take longer than expected on those types of multipitch routes-- anything that might cause people to rush on the Redgarden Wall descent sounds like a bad idea.

-I'd appreciate to have an option for first-come, first-serve parking for early morning starts.  As it is currently, and in RMNP.  This is useful for visiting climbers who would really like to get on the most classic climbs.

-I would probably not use a reservation system.  If no "unreserved" parking or shuttle was available on the weekends, I would climb elsewhere.  If summer weekend reservations were mandatory, I would most likely only climb at Eldo on weekdays.

-If I had yet to climb one of the very most famous classic climbs in Eldo (e.g., Bastille, Yellow Spur, Naked Edge) at whatever my grade was at the time, I could see having been willing to pay even higher fees or bothering with reservations.  But it would have been only for a specific climb like that, and if a hassle-free weekday wasn't an option for me.

-For the most part, Eldo is hotter than ideal in the summer.  I wouldn’t plan a trip with a main goal of climbing at Eldo in the summer, but I might go if I happened to be in the Front Range (for other travel reasons, or as part of a climbing trip to RMNP). Spring and fall are better seasons.

-Crowds, "too many climbers", or lack of parking, have not at all adversely affected my climbing experiences at Eldo over the last 15 years.  I've always gotten a parking spot and gotten on good climbs without waiting much for others.  Sounds like things have changed in recent years.

It's a wonderful climbing area, hope a good solution is found.
Gold Plated Rocket Pony · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 91

Just did the survey. Not sure why first come, first serve with the shuttle for those who came too late isn't an option. Seems way easier than some complex reservation system.

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 317
Gold Plated Rocket Pony wrote: Just did the survey. Not sure why first come, first serve with the shuttle for those who came too late isn't an option. Seems way easier than some complex reservation system.

Yes, that was my reaction as well. The trouble with a reservation system is that people will want to arrive at all times and stay for an indefinite duration. I don't see how one could manage that, unless a large number of spots are left unused for much of the day. It would be fine to set aside some reserved spots for mid-day arrivals like picnickers, but I think most spots would have to be first-come-first-serve. (There's a reserved parking system at Denver Int'l Airport and that how it works). Otherwise there'll be a lot of waste due to no-shows and early departures.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Colorado
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