Etzler: Rangers ruin weekend

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To the editor:

We came up and camped at Elkhead Reservoir this last weekend with friends.

What a joke. There were five rangers at the boat dock checking boats, and they stayed most of the day sitting under the shade and alongside the building.

There was a camp host also for 13 camping spots.

On Sunday, the rangers came around at 10:30 a.m. asking if we were staying another night. We said no and at noon, they came firing over to the campground making sure we had either left or bought another day pass.

As we boated in the morning up in the “no wake” area to see the expansion of the lake, we noticed they were parked on a knob, checking us out.

Come on, state parks, do we really need all those rangers on that small of a lake?

Thank heavens for Utah, where we can boat, and the rangers are helpful and not looking for some way to give everybody a ticket.

No wonder everyone I had been talking to about Elkhead told us not to bother going there anymore. Next time we will listen.

Dixie Etzler

Comments

David Moore 4 years, 4 months ago

A well put letter. I too have run into trouble with the over-zealous ranger staff at Elkhead. Years ago some friends took us out to ride their waverunner(or jetski or whatever they are called, the kind you sit on)and to enjoy some quality time with friends on a beautiful Saturday. Now I am no expert on the operation of these crafts so I took it easy and just putted around until I felt comfortable with the operation of this machine. As I approached the "no wake zone", I slowed down to idle speed to cruise through it. A boat came charging out of nowhere, creating a substantial wake in the "no wake zone", only to pull alongside of me to ticket me for creating a wake in the "no wake zone". Cost me $105.00 and has kept me from ever going out on that lake again. A simple explanation with a warning would have been sufficient, especially for a first time user who was not even the owner of the craft. All this type of attitude will accomplish is people staying away from Elkhead and going elsewhere. I can understand Mrs. Etzler, the stalking behavior will ruin a good time and make people think twice about ever returning. I realize enforcement of the rules is necessary, but to this extreme?

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als362 4 years, 4 months ago

To Mr. Moore, you should not be surprised to be ticketed for a no wake violation especially when as you said you are not very familiar with the vehicle you were operating. If you had taken the time to learn about the vehicle and the laws governing them, then the chances are very good you would not have violated the law and been ticketed for same. To Dixie Etzler, yes, the Rangers are necessary at this lake. When they are not there, people constantly break the rules, violate the law, and operate the vehicles they are running in foolish and hazardous ways. I have been using Elkhead Reservior since 1990, and I can assure you that things are much better, and safer when the Rangers are on duty at the lake. If you are uncomfortable with them being there, then my suggestion is for you to stay home, or go to another lake, because I am very thankful that they are there, doing the job they do. They are a necessity!

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stelladams 4 years, 4 months ago

Ms. Etzler, I have to agree with you on the over abundance of rangers at Elkhead. Most of the time, I think they are bored and have nothing to do but hassle the people that are there. We have been to many other lakes and never had the extint of over power that this lake has. OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!!!!! Everyone else is cutting back on man power and the State Parks just keep on hiring. (Half of them are sitting around with nothing to do.) Oh and what about the Moffat CO sheriff's office having there cruisers guarding the county road around the lake? Can't the state parks take care of that or do they need to call them out also....? I have been to a larger lake in WY and they had two rangers. One at the dock and one in a boat. The lake is a lot larger, and they seemed to keep it under control. We didn't see anyone violating the rules. Oh, and by the way, there were many more boaters and fishing dudes there, than at Elkhead this weekend, and we sure enjoyed chatting with the ranger. He didn't come up and demand money from us, and tell us we were breaking the rules because of where we parked.

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David Moore 4 years, 4 months ago

Als362, I am not in disagreement with you, as a matter of fact I thought the very same thing, should've known ALL the rules, not just the two dozen or so we went over before my ride. I do not deny the necessity of the park staff, but like I said, a simple warning would have curbed my lawbreaking, and possibly fed a different image. Where is a little discretion? The treatment received by the author of the above letter is not proper parks enforcement, leave people be to have some fun and hassle the ones truly acting inappropriately or blatantly breaking the law.

From the above letter: "No wonder everyone I had been talking to about Elkhead told us not to bother going there anymore,next time we will listen." Not something you need to hear when trying to attract tourists.

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als362 4 years, 4 months ago

To everyone: I can tell you this for an absolute fact, because I have had 20+ years of experience on Elkhead Reservior. When the Rangers are not there, things are out of control. When they are there, things are much safer. Maybe Moffat county has an over abundance of idiots living here that just feel the need to show just how much of an idiot one person can be when there is no law enforcement around. But it is necessary at Elkhead. I cannot speak about other reserviors because I do not visit them.

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Becky Plummer 4 years, 4 months ago

I think I can top you on problems with Park Rangers, Last week while returning from Steamboat with my dog in the truck I noticed he was getting thirsty, so just this side of Hayden I crossed the the bridge and turned into the little area where you can get down to the river on the sand bar, I drove past two rangers standing outside their trucks talking to each other, stopped about thirty feet from them let my dog out, he got a drink of water out of the Yampa River and I put him back in the truck out of the park we head. Leaving of course the same way we went in, past the rangers still standing talking, One of the rangers stopped me and stated he did not see my Day Pass, I stated I was just letting my dog get a drink of water, he says again I dont see your day pass, I again state the obvious since I was on the same sand bar as them that I hadnt been there three minutes letting my dog get a drink of water out of the YAMPA RIVER. The big bad ranger then stated to me "you can either pay six dollars for a day pass or you can pay me a FIFTY DOLLAR FINE hows that for an expensive drink of water. Here is your lack of discretion at work. I did file a written complaint at the visitor center next day,but that has been two weeks ago and have heard nothing back yet. That was one expensive drink of water for the dog, hell I dont pay that for a case of bottled water. But the ranger did inform me that I could bring him back for another drink or water till noon the following day!!!!!!!!!!!

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native_craig_guy 4 years, 4 months ago

Park Rangers are people too. I have found that many people get angry when they violate rules and are punished for them. I frequent Elkhead and always have an enjoyable time there. I obey the laws and I don't have problems with the Rangers. I think that they do a great job at keeping aquatic nuisance species and the riff raff out of Elkhead. Keep up the good work Rangers!!!

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coloradonativeut 4 years, 4 months ago

I agree with Etzler. I grew up on that lake, and there was never a weekend that the rangers were actually making the lake safer. They were always harassing, rather than making it what Colorado parks should be-- outdoor fun. Routt and Moffat county rangers need to cut back, in both staffing and regulations.

As a mulit-generation of the Yampa Valley, I will never go back to Elkhead.

It is unfortunate that Etzler now spends her weekends supporting the Utah Parks rather than her home state.

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als362 4 years, 4 months ago

To coloradonativeut: The more people like you that think the Rangers who by the way are just doing their job, are a big problem and will never go back to Elkhead the happier I am. Then there will be less people like you and more room for me. I have never had the Ranger harass me. Maybe it's because I take great pains to make sure I don't break any laws or park rules. From your comments, I must say that you don't. To metoo: If you break the law you can expect to be have problems with those that are charged with enforcing those laws. I can assure you that there was a sign telling you that you needed a parks pass to enter the area you went into. There are these signs everywhere I have ever gone where a parks pass is needed. Just like driving a car, you must read the signs to know what the rules are. If you choose to ignore these signs then you will more than likely have some sort of a problem.
The Rangers at Elkhead have only helped me, and made my visits more enjoyable and safer.

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dogfan 4 years, 4 months ago

Enforcement of the rules is fine, but the rangers at Elkhead are carrying it a bit too far. They keep harassing people they will just find somewhere else to go. Then they will have to raise the fees to pay for upkeep because fewer people will want to go there.

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als362 4 years, 3 months ago

Those of you that think or feel you are being harassed, must be doing something much different than I do at Elkhead.
I have never been harassed or bothered in any way by any ranger at Elkhead.
If you are having problems, I have to believe you are bringing them on yourself somehow.

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