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RBC I Colorado Parks and Wildlife opened Harvey Gap and Rifle Gap state parks to boating on Wednesday. Water lovers are invited to enjoy two of the most popular parks in western Colorado, where people can fish, hike, bike and enjoy a variety of water-based outdoor recreation. Rifle Gap also offers a variety of camping options.
The clear water of Rifle Gap Reservoir attracts water-skiers, jet-skiers and boaters and also offers great conditions for sailing.
Harvey Gap is a great lake for small boats of 20 horsepower or less. Sailing and canoeing are popular, too.
“Fishing and boating are great here, and we look forward to a great season,” said Park Manager Brian Palcer. “But before you head out, we strongly recommend that you pay attention to a few things that will help keep you safe and legal.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds boaters that attention to safety and responsibility on the water is required from all participants at all times.
“Before launching, be sure your vessel is registered, check that all of the required safety gear is on board and in good condition, and remember that alcohol and boating do not mix,” Palcer said.
“A fun day on the water can turn tragic very quickly if you’re not taking safety into consideration,” he said. “We will be out every day to make sure people are following the rules so that everyone can have a fun time.”
Palcer reminds boaters to always have the basic required gear, including personal flotation devices, a sound producing device, fire extinguisher, navigation lights and a current boat registration with visible registration numbers placed on the watercraft.
Colorado boating regulations require that all children under the age of 13 wear a life jacket at all times while on the water.
For more information about required equipment and boating regulations, pick up the latest regulations brochure at your local park visitor center, also available online at www.cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Boating/BoatingRegulations.pdf
Throughout the year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife patrols the state’s water to provide assistance and enforce boating laws. The public is encouraged to contact a park ranger for help at any time.
“We can even perform a free equipment inspection to make sure you have what you need and that it’s in good shape,” said Palcer. “Just let us know how we can help.”
In addition to safety, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is continuing its efforts to prevent the spread of harmful, aquatic nuisance species. Boaters are urged to do their part to help prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels, among other invaders, into state waterways.
Boats can be inspected at Harvey Gap and Rifle Gap reservoirs during the following times:
May 1 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and May 16 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Anyone wishing to boat outside of the above inspection hours must obtain a seal and receipt from a certified ANS boat inspector and drop the seal and receipt in the pre-inspection drop box prior to launch.