Mar 222005
Authors: Clarke Reader

The spring and summer months are fast approaching which means rock climbing will soon be in season, but fees for a local park may be an obstacle for some climbers.

Rotary Park, located near Horsetooth Reservoir, is a favorite location for climbers of all skill levels.

"A year ago the county commissioners approved a fee of $6 per vehicle," said Gary Buffington, Larimer County Parks and Open Land department director.

Buffington has taken up the cause of trying to either get rid of the fees altogether or at least alleviate the amount.

"There's a percentage of people who don't use the area because of the cost," Buffington said. "We recognized it after a year of monitoring the park. My whole thing is how to increase visitors."

Many students on campus do not use the park anymore because of the fees.

"I love Rotary Park. It's definitely great to have it right there for climbers," said Josh Weinberg, a junior history major. "I don't go as much as I used to. Making money to climb is not on the top of my priority list. (The fees) are definitely an issue when going up there."

Currently, Buffington is examining some of the many options available to do something about the fees.

"An initial thing required is getting people to pack trash out, so we wouldn't have to pay for cleaning," Buffington said.

One of the people Buffington has been discussing changes with is Matt Evans, owner of Mountain Shop and Poudre River Kayaks and Canoe, 632 South Mason St.

"We're entertaining the fact that with a yearly fundraiser, we could alleviate the fees," Evans said. "Climbers don't really need a lot of the facilities, just parking and a trail."

Another option being considered is trying to find a sponsor for the park.

"I'm excited about a group of partners to sponsor the park," Buffington said. "We could recognize them with their name in the park."

According to Evans, Buffington has also discussed the possibility of setting up a donation location at the park, where people could pay if they wanted, or if they felt they had been using the park a lot.

"It's a great place to go on an afternoon. It has the best selection of boulders in Horestooth," Evans said.

Students are encouraged to visit the park and help bring it more recognition.

"It's a world class place for different levels," Weinberg said. "You can enjoy countless hours there."

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