Delay opening for some summer recreation on the Grand Mesa

Heavy winter snowfall has resulted in longer-than-average snowmelt that will delay the opening for summer recreation on the Grand Mesa.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 8:56 PM MDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 2:31 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Western Slope has seen some historic snowfall this winter, and while that has had some positive impacts at ski resorts, it is also affecting summer recreation.

The Grand Mesa is affected by the high snow levels, where campgrounds will remain closed until all the snow has melted.

“There’s currently between four and eight feet of snow standing on top of the Grand Mesa. That will take much longer than normal to melt off,” said Bill Edwards, a District Ranger for the Grand Valley Ranger District. According to Edwards, campgrounds usually start opening sometime in May; however, this could delay it until June.

The Grand Mesa Lodge, however, will not get affected by the snowfall. Edwards mentioned that it gets plowed with its proximity to Highway 65, and crews have managed it throughout the winter. The Grand Mesa Lodge is looking to open on Memorial Day Weekend.

However, Edwards mentions that with the snowmelt, flooding is likely, especially with some of the Gunnison and Dolores Rivers flooding. If flooding does occur on the Mesa, roads are likely to close for a temporary amount of time. Also, snowmelt results in saturated ground and the Forest Service recommends that anyone should avoid dirt roads for the time being to prevent erosion from occurring. Hiking trails that are accessible are not affected by these recommendations. However, the forest services say you should always remain on the paths to prevent erosion.