Conservancy board postpones decisions

The Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District board of directors met last Wednesday for its annual boater/users meeting. The purpose of the meeting according to the board of directors “was to invite people to attend and share their thoughts on needs and improvements at Kenney Reservoir.”
There were a number of people gathered to express their concerns after receiving a letter with the updated rules and fees for Kenney Reservoir. In particular, concerns with the camping rate of $8 per day per site and a maximum stay of 14 days in a 21 day period, and no annual pass available. The boating fees on the letter remained the same as last year with district resident’s fee at $5 per day and an out-of-district user’s fee of $7 per day. There is a district resident annual boating pass available for $40.
Kay Nickson voiced her concerns saying, “We stay at the lake and we have always paid our fee and tried to support the entire project but $8/day with no annual pass option is hard on a fixed income.” She went on to question why the boating annual pass had not changed along with the camping rates and she did not feel that paying the same price as out of district campers was right. She asked that the board reconsider their rate changes, giving the options of senior prices or even a higher annual fee. Nickson was not alone in her concerns about the rates, approximately six other people showed up to question the $8/day fee with no annual pass. They talked about the difficulty of making this campground like other state parks, in terms of liability and facilities and expressed that this is a “primitive” camping area and increased rates would call for increased quality of campgrounds. They also questioned the spending with three full time employees and concerns about the safety of the swimming area.
Not everyone in attendance disagreed with the rates. One person said people who camp for extended periods of time and take up the camping areas have created a lack of opportunity for boaters to camp.
Another member also said some maintenance across the lake and the addition of more campsites would certainly be good changes for the reservoir.
The meeting continued with ideas and conversations ranging from personnel relations to fourth of July parking, and silt removal plans for the reservoir. There were many questions left unanswered but few opinions left unheard. Although attendees wanted some decisions, none could be made as the board had only three members present. People were invited back to meetings which take place once a month, and the board said they appreciated the input and will take it into consideration.