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May 25, 2013 11:47 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Visitors flock to reopened Rampart Reservoir

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend Rampart Reservoir was reopened nearly a year after narrowly avoiding destruction during the Waldo Canyon Fire.

On Saturday the sun was shining, the water was smooth and the temperatures were perfect. The reservoir seemed like a paradise to visitors.

"It's fantastic, we found a great campsite over here on the hill and just hanging out for the weekend," described first time visitor Jamie Krakofski. "Wanted to get out here with the kids and enjoy ourselves and relax."

Many of the visitors on Saturday expressed surprise at how green much of the forest surrounding the reservoir was, just last year it seemed nothing in the path of flames would've been spared.

"It's amazing that it missed so much of it, seems like it just jumped right over it," explained Krakofski.

Still, there were many reminders of how close the fire came to the reservoir. On the drive up vistiors pass burn scars that reach right up to the roads and stands of burned trees line many of the parking areas near the dam. However, the damage was much less than what regular visitors expected.

"Before the burn we would come up here occasionally, but you know we looked and saw that it was reopened so we came up to check it out," explained Jeff Demetrelis, visiting with his family. "Actually it's a lot better than I thought it was going to look, very happy to see that there's a lot of vegetation left."

Demetrelis said he and his family found the fish were biting and took in five to cook for a Memorial Day dinner, other anglers agreed the fishing was surprisingly good. There were plenty of visitors on Saturday, but crowds were fairly light.

"It was great, we had a little bit of a walk but it was worth it," Demetrelis said. "We had a good time, kids all said they had a good time."

There are still many areas around the reservoir that are off-limits because of the fire. Visitors will notice numerous signs directing them to stay on trails to help rehabilitation efforts and warnings that burned trees could easily come down in high winds. But, for the first time in nearly a year, there are the sounds of people out enjoying nature at Rampart Reservoir.

"We had a good time," Demetrelis said. "Come on out."

The road across the dam at Rampart Reservoir is closed as well as the boat ramp due to low water levels, motorized boats are not yet being allowed out on the water.

 

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