River enthusiasts will soon have a new place to launch rafts and kayaks in San Juan County

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The Animas River flows through Cedar Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, near the place the county plans to build a new boat launch.

AZTEC — A boat launch site that is expected to be completed in September will provide the only public location to put a raft or kayak into the Animas River between Durango, Colorado, and Aztec.

San Juan County plans to construct a boat launch in Cedar Hill on county-owned right of way that was previously used when the Denver-Rio Grande Western Railroad ran through the area. This right of way is located off of County Road 2390. This property is currently undeveloped and adjacent to the U.S. Highway 550 bridge.

The project includes a gravel access road, a solar-powered access gate and parking lot as well as the ramp where people can place their rafts or kayaks in the river. This also provides a place where people floating downstream from Durango can exit the river. A diversion weir will provide calm water for people launching or taking their craft out of the river.

The County Commission unanimously approved a $170,000 budget adjustment to move forward with the project earlier this month. Construction will take place during the summer when the river levels are low.

According to county spokesperson Devin Neeley, the county initiated the process in March with an approximately $10,000 engineering contract.

This new project comes as San Juan County focuses on increasing outdoor recreation opportunities and diversifying the economy.

“It is a demonstration of the commitment San Juan County has to improve outdoor recreation for our residents and visitors,” said San Juan County Commission Chairman Jack Fortner. “While we continue to improve outdoor recreation on two wheels, improving access to take advantage of the water recreation is not only logical, it will draw commerce from all around. This is another step toward diversity in our economy and building recreation of all types.”

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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