A popular dispersed-camping area located west of Leadville on Lake Fork Creek downstream of Turquoise Lake and County Road 4 will benefit from a major restoration project developed by the USDA Forest Service, Lake County, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The project, which was to start on Sept. 3 and finish in about eight weeks, will improve the overall aquatic habitat in Lake Fork Creek.

The restoration work entails strategically placing large boulders, whole trees, and smaller rocks and logs in a manner that mimics natural features of a stream. Banks and areas where excessive erosion has occurred will be stabilized and planted with native willows, grasses, and sedges. When complete, the project should reduce erosion and sediment that clouds the water and create more deep pools where fish feed and overwinter.

Moving the boulders and whole trees in this spot requires heavy machinery. For this reason, the area will be closed to all public use during implementation. Camping and entering the area will be prohibited from Sept. 3 through Nov. 1. Campers should consider using the eastern side of Forest Road 113 (closer to County Road 4) during this timeframe.

“This project should have a direct and positive impact on the stream’s hydrology, fish habitat, and bank stabilization, and we expect it will restore a more natural-appearing setting for recreationists visiting the area,” said Erich Roeber, district ranger.

Janelle Valladares, San Isabel National Forest fish biologist added, “By improving the habitat, we expect to see more and bigger fish in the stream in the next couple of years.”

The full text of the closure order and a map can be found at the Leadville Ranger District Office, the Forest & Grassland Supervisor’s Office (Pueblo), and on their websites.

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