The U.S. Forest Service plans to temporarily close its Rainbow Lakes and Pawnee campgrounds. Collectively, those two areas contain 71 campsites, a quarter of all the Forest Service campsites in the Boulder Ranger District, the Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo, reported.
Both campsites are closed for construction projects, and both are scheduled to reopen in 2012. Forest Service officials say that the summer is the only season they have to get work done at the two areas, which are both at or above 10,000 feet.
“It’s a very limited window when we can work on it,” said Elaine Wells, visitor information specialist for the Boulder Ranger District.”
There are five other Forest Service campgrounds in the district — Camp Dick, Kelly Dahl, Meeker Park, Olive Ridge and Peaceful Valley — which have a total of 189 sites.
The improvements at Rainbow Lakes, which sits northwest of Nederland, are designed to make the campground safer, Wells said. Now, hikers who want to get to Rainbow Lakes Trail and Glacier Rim Trail have to drive through the campground.
“We’re switching that around,” Wells said. “The trailheads will be reconstructed in an open area that’s east of the campground.”
The trailheads will also be closed this summer. The construction project includes upgrading the campground to bring it up to standards, though the campsite won’t have additional amenities. Campers will still have to bring their own water and use vault toilets when Rainbow Lakes reopens.
The Pawnee Campground in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area west of Ward is getting a more significant facelift, which will include spreading out the campsites and adding new walk-in sites that will allow tent campers to get away from the recreational vehicles.
Construction of the new entrance station at Brainard Lake will also continue through the summer, though the area’s trails will remain open.
“We’re very pleased that these long-overdue upgrades will soon be complete,” District Ranger Christine Walsh said in a statement. “The projects will result in improved visitor facilities and enhanced protection of natural resources.”