New Slate River Boat Launch Grand Opening and Public Art Exhibition
The Town of Crested Butte, in partnership with the Crested Butte Land Trust and with generous funding from the Met Rec, built the Slate River Boat Launch in the fall of 2021. This riverfront park is open for the first time this spring and provides recreational access to the Slate River. The Slate is an iconic feature of the Upper East River Valley that provides a wide range of recreational opportunities, high functioning wetlands, critical wildlife habitat, and some of the most scenic views in the Rocky Mountains. It meanders through a patchwork of public, private, and privately-conserved property. Significant increases in recreational use over the past five years have raised concerns over wildlife impacts, private property rights, and resource protection. This new park provides an important recreational amenity while mitigating detrimental environmental impacts to this vital river corridor.
Boat Launch amenities include changing rooms, kayak and paddle board racks for out-of-the-way temporary storage during shuttle runs, stone slab steps with a timber boat slide, a 70’ wide cobble beach area, porta potties, bike racks, and native landscaping. A decomposed granite path and staging area provide a user-friendly durable space allowing for easy circulation of rafts and smaller watercraft from the beach area to the ample parking available in the adjacent rights of way. An interpretive sign informs visitors of the critical wildlife habitat, private property, and river hazards that exist along the Slate. This signage encourages users to be good stewards and practice good river etiquette, and provides a map of the river corridor indicating public and private property. In partnership with the Land Trust, the sign will be consistent in theme and management information with other river access sites along the Slate.
The Town is encouraging river users to access the Slate via the new Boat Launch and to avoid the Rec Path Bridge river access area with watercraft. A wetland restoration and ADA access project at the Rec Path Bridge will commence this summer thanks to generous funding from the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District.