Tuesday, March 9, 2010 , 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.,
Boyd Lake Room, Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 West Oak, Fort Collins, CO
Barry Lewis, Vice Chair
Gary Buffington, Director
Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager
Debra Wykoff, Business Operations Manager
Chris Fleming, Blue Mountain District Manager
Charlie Johnson, Land Agent
Mark Caughlan, Horsetooth District Manager
The March 9, 2010, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Chair Dave Coulson, at 5:30 p.m. The minutes of the meeting on February 9, 2010, were approved.
BOARD MEMBER REPORTS
- Linda Knowlton reported that she attended the Open Lands Advisory Board meeting last month. Of interest to the Parks Advisory Board was the 5-year extension of the deadline to remove 2 cabins at Hermit Park.
- Dave Coulson, Chair, announced that he will not be seeking another term on the Board when his expires in June.
- Walt Grawl and Jim Roode, Loveland Fishing Club: Walt reviewed the 2005 proposal for 12 of the parcels in the Big Thompson Canyon; the Board has followed their recommendations on 7 parcels. Of the remaining 5, two are the largest, but also problematic because they are near private property. Area 3 and the east area of Unit 20 are the two which the Club would like to see moved up the priority list. They suggest that these parcels be posted as public access in the meantime. Staff noted that establishing arbitrary boundaries for public access will not only confuse the public, but will also have a negative impact on neighboring landowners, due to the arbitrary placement of boundary markers when the Parks Advisory Board has yet to hear testimony and make final decisions on boundaries for a particular parcel.
- Several CSU students attended the meeting as a class requirement.
Natural Resource Events
for March. See website http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources.
Field Manager, a simple POS module in the Active
Network/Reserve America platform, will be implemented as a pilot project at Hermit Park and the 2 Estes area campgrounds. An additional fee of $2.50 per transaction
will be assessed only on walk-in camping reservations. No transaction fee will
apply to all other sales of merchandise.
Fred Quarterone was recently hired
to fill the Sr. Ranger position for the Blue Mountain District. Fred was
previously with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
§ Dan Rieves is working with the Loveland Fishing Club on a Fishing is Fun grant to improve shoreline accessibility at Flatiron Reservoir.
Carter Lake Marina History and Current Operations – Don Waldburger, Carter Lake Marina concessionaire
Don is a native of Longmont, who began
recreating at Carter Lake as soon as it was completed for recreation . He is a
member of the Carter Lake Sail Club, and has serviced their slips for over 20
years. His son, John, works in the business as well, and their hope is that he
will take over the business. Don’s daughter is relocating from Florida to
assist with the business.
The Waldburgers bought the Carter Lake
Marina from the previous marina owners in 1989. They have sunk their life
savings into the business. This is a service-oriented, family business. They
know what they are doing. They own all the equipment, docks and moorings
except the marina store, shop and residence. There were only 10 slips originally,
and now there are 90. They expect to add an additional 40 slips sometime in
In the past few years they have added
several rental boats, which they think they can grow. The store doesn’t have
much growth capacity, but the food service can be expanded. Future plans
include slips with electricity; more rental boats and expanded food service.
There is someone on site 24 hours per day
during the boating season, and this is a necessity to meet the needs of the
boating public. There are probably a dozen storms a year that are
“attention-getters.” It is necessary to have someone on site all the time to
protect the boats and facilities during storms and to be available when
customers need help. During the 8 months the marina is open, Don works 70-80
hours per week, and his wife and son worked 60-70 hours per week.
Their license prohibited them from making
improvements to the old store building, because a relocation of the facilities
was planned, both under the old Master Plan and the new one. The new Marina
building is a good addition to the County. It draws people. It has worked out
well since the County bought the old building and replaced it with a beautiful
new facility for which the Waldburgers are not responsible. The proceeds from
the sale of the old building saved their business in the last couple of years.
There were 25 moorings not rented last
year. Empty slips and moorings are rented on a short term basis for the
weekend, etc. A mooring is $15/night; a slip is $25/night. This has become a
The past few years have been financially challenging
due to low water. The down turn in the business Waldburgers attribute to
management decisions by the County, eliminating campsites and eliminating
camping on the beach, for example. In the development of the new Marina building, 7 campsites and several day use areas were eliminated. They hope to see
the County develop another campground to improve business.
To make a go of it, the Waldburgers need
high water levels, and an improved economy. For the past 5 years, they did not
make a profit. Last year was the first year there was a modest profit of
$17,000, which is 5% of gross. They would prefer to see 7 or 8%. Their
license fees totaled more than $24,000. Their license fee is 8% for 2010.
In 2009, Don paid himself a salary of
$63,000; John was paid about $40,000. Last year they had 5 employees,
The Waldburgers view the bid process for
the next marina concession license as a ‘hostile takeover.’ They intend to put
out petitions this year and solicit letters of support for their management of
the marina. They will be supported by the Carter Lake Sail Club; many members,
their friends and customers.
Board comments and response:
How do they get the word out about the marina and slips, etc.?
Don: Carter Lake is a beautiful mountain lake, and is not crowded, which draws people. Most of their business is word of mouth among the boating community. They do very little marketing or advertising.
Frank Cada: What is the basis of the license fee – is it rent for the facilities? Do they feel it is a fair price for what they’re getting?
Staff: The license fee is paid for the opportunity to operate a commercial business on Federal property.
Don: With the
new marina building, the fee is reasonable, although they would prefer to pay
less, of course.
STANDING AGENDA ITEMS:
Park District updates – Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager
§ ANS inspection program contract with CDOW should be signed within a week. The 2010 contract is about $30,000 more than 2009.
§ In-depth review of the ranger program by ranger staff has included hiring a consultant to review all policies and procedures, and update as necessary.
§ New Sr. Ranger, Fred Quarterone, will be in training until Memorial Day weekend.
§ The seasonal hiring process is now underway, including 60 hours of seasonal ranger training.
§ A sign plan for the Big Thompson properties is being developed.
§ An adopt-a-park program for Big Thompson is also being developed, in cooperation with the Loveland Fishing Club and other organizations.
§ Interpreter training program underway right now – 20 staff members are becoming certified through the 30 hour class.
§ The 2010 Camporee core team is planning for 800-1200 boy scouts at Hermit Park next September. The weekend will include lots of exciting activities.
§ Estes Park campgrounds – Cindy Claggett is project manager to get these areas ready to open, including getting them on the camping reservation system.
§ There is no off-season for rangers any more; they are all very busy with multiple projects.
§ The switchover to the new Active Network campground reservation system has taken a lot of work to get up and running.
§ Complaints about fee increases are being heard. Nonetheless, campgrounds are almost completely booked for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
§ Horsetooth improvement projects and ADA retrofitting continues.
§ South Bay swim beach, Phase 1 is almost done. The bids for Phase 2 will come in a couple of weeks.
§ Blue Sky Trailhead, at the former Field of Dreams, is under way.
§ The 6th Annual Fishing Expo will be the first weekend in April.
§ Eagle Campground camper services building – GOCO grant proposal submitted.
Parks Master Plan implementation progress report –Gary
§ We’ve completed most of the Priority 1 projects, as well as several other major projects like the Carter Lake Marina.
§ The Master Plan cost estimates were reduced from EDAW’s original estimates at the request of the department; as it turns out, the actual costs are very close to EDAW’s original numbers.
§ Mark Caughlan noted with pride the department’s success in producing quality results on a limited budget.
§ Gary is looking at the pros and cons of borrowing up to another $1 million more from Solid Waste to take advantage of favorable market conditions with low interest rates and low bids. Like the last borrowed funds, a lot of approvals will have to be obtained.
Board comments and response:
Barry Lewis: What about Hermit
Park – doing improvements there, even though they weren’t in the Master Plan?
[Hermit Park is funded and operated as an open
space, with its own managementplan. Chris offered to bring the HP master plan
for the Board to review.]
§ Russell Fruits: What about the Estes campgrounds? He suggests posting signs telling about future improvements for the benefit of the long time customers. [There is a separate master plan for the Estes campgrounds, which includes shower buildings at both campgrounds. There will be one new building and the other will be refurbished.]
Carter Lake Marina concession subcommittee update – Dan Rieves and Russ Fruits
§ The subcommittee met last week. Chad LaChance and Russell Fruits met with staff.
§ By May a decision must be made as to the direction it will go.
§ The committee will interview some marina managers, and consider using one of them as a consultant through the bid process.
§ The committee decided that a county-managed marina operation should not be ruled out at this point in the process.
§ The goal is to have the bid out by mid-summer so that prospective bidders can see the marina in operation at the peak season.
7:00 DIRECTOR’S REPORT
- Outreach and Development team met with the Commissioners yesterday to provide an overview of all our public outreach programs. It was well-received by the Commissioners. This is a General Fund-ed program; Gary wanted them to understand how our General Fund is used, and the programs which depend upon that allocation.
Concession Management Procedure Manual
- Gary distributed the draft of the entire manual, including portions previously reviewed by the Board.
Board comment and response:
- Linda Knowlton: Why was performance bond requirement omitted? [Performance bonds have never been included in a County concession license; Gary moved this provision into the contract format.]
Hayden Subdivision sales contracts – Charlie Johnson, Land Agent
- Charlie reported that the 13 lots previously approved for sale are closing rapidly.
- He reviewed two more transactions which will be trades of County lots within the Hayden Subdivision for public fishing access easements on private property. These include an exchange of a portion of County-owned lots 3 and 32 for a public fishing easement on a portion of lots 4 and 34, which are owned by Ed and Sarah Egloff and The Chapel of the Interlude, Inc., respectively.
- These complete continuous public access from one end of the Hayden Subdivision to the other, except for private property at each end
- On behalf of the Loveland Fishing Club and Friends of the Poudre, Walt Graul expressed appreciation for the County’s efforts on this project.
- The profits from the sales will be used to maintain County properties in the Big Thompson canyon.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Dave Coulson, Chair
FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
- Marina concession @ Carter Lake
Next regular meeting: April 13, 2010, Bison Visitor Center, 1800 SCR 31, Loveland, CO