Forest Service eyes Tenmile rafting operations

Bob Berwyn
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Kodi Rafting guides Jeremy Fick, left, Mike Hale and Tim Hannon raft from Officer's Gulch to Dillon Reservoir last year in Tenmile Canyon. Kodi Rafting spent part of the day training on the river because they are hoping to receive permission to use the river for commercial purposes. (Summit Daily file)

SUMMIT COUNTY – Although he says it’s still a bit too early to be thinking about runoff levels, Frisco raft guide Chris “Campy” Campton is getting excited about the possibility of offering a two-hour run on Tenmile Creek, from Officers Gulch downstream to Dillon Reservoir.

“It’s a hoot,” he said of the swift stretch of whitewater. Working closely with Frisco officials, Campton hopes to offer the trip on weekdays this spring, ending with a happy hour appetizer at the Island Grill.

For now, he’s still waiting for Forest Service approval for the new run, and the agency is still in the process of taking public comment through April 16. According to a Forest Service press release, the run would be approved under a temporary permit that would limit the operation to four boats and one kayak launch per day.

Campton is still working out details of the exact launch site with the agency and hopes to get a final decision by May 1.

“If it happens, I think it will be great thing for the community,” he said, explaining that it would be a fun rafting adventure for Summit County locals, requiring less of a drive than some of the other popular trips in the area, on the Lower Blue and the Arkansas, for example.

At the same time the Forest Service is considering the Tenmile Creek operation, the agency is also looking at revamping the permitting process for all commercial rafting operations in the local ranger district.

Instead of reissuing permits on an annual basis, the agency is proposing to issue 10-year permits in order to cut the time and cost of the permitting process, while still maintaining an environmental review process. The change applies to commercial river running operations on the Blue.

Three outfitters/guides offer Blue River trips, and the number of launches would remain the same under the new permit structure. Current levels allow four rafts per launch, with three launches per day. The new 10-year permit would be expanded to include hard-shell and inflatable kayaks.

For more information on the environmental analysis or to make a comment, call Cam Meyer, special use administrator for the Dillon Distirct, at (970) 262-3486. Comments are due by April 16.