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Posted on: May 18, 2021

[ARCHIVED] News Release: Gunnison County Issues Proposed User Fees for Shady Island River Park

1 Final SHADY ISLAND MASTER PLAN conceptual map CHANGED 2021

For Immediate Release:  May 18, 2021


Revenues to Provide for Care and Maintenance

Gunnison County, Colo – The Shady Island River Park, located on the banks of the Gunnison River, is anticipated to open in early summer 2021. The River Park is owned and operated by Gunnison County, and was purchased with the intent of providing a new river access area that will better support the current and growing recreational use. The River Park will provide river access for boats, shoreline fishing, walk-in tent camping, a nature-play obstacle course and playground, and picnicking and gathering areas. 

In its first year of operation, the boat ramp and parking areas will be open. The County will be finishing installation of the campground and picnic facilities in 2021 and expect that those will be available in 2022. Temporary bathrooms will be located on site in the summer of 2021, and permanent bathrooms are expected to be constructed on site beginning in the fall of 2021. 

The development of the park has been funded nearly entirely by grants. A dedicated source of revenue is necessary to support the level of care and maintenance of the River Park. Visitors to Shady Island will anticipate payment for use of expanded amenities. 


Outlined below is a potential fee schedule for use of amenities at Shady Island River Park.  Fees for Shady Island River Park will be reviewed every five years.

  • Day Pass (one calendar day) - $5.  This pass is valid for use as a parking permit to access the River Park 
  • Weekly Pass (seven consecutive days) - $15.  This pass is valid for use as a parking permit to access the River Park 
  • Annual Pass (12 consecutive months) - $40.  This pass is valid for use as a parking permit to access the River Park and use of toilets and showers.
  • Overnight Camping Pass (two calendar days) - $20.  This pass is valid for use as a parking permit and access to one designated camping site 
  • Commercial Annual Pass (per truck/trailer parking space, 12 consecutive months) - $500.  This pass is valid for use by commercial outfitters. Permits use of the River Park and includes a dedicated parking space with signage.  


  • Camping.  Walk-in, tent-only campsites will provide a low-impact recreational camping experience. The campground includes 19 campsites, with one of those being a group camping site. Two gathering areas are included within the campground. One area will have a group fire-pit and gathering space including a lawn for games and other uses. The second gathering area is located along the side channel and provides a small beach area and access to riparian habitat.  All camping sites are first-come, first-served. Each campsite will have a site post, tent pad, fire ring, and picnic table. 
  • Parking.  There are 43 vehicle parking spaces for cars and 36 parking spots for trailers. Payment is required for use of all parking spots. Two parking spots are designated as ADA accessible. One spot near the restrooms is designated as “short-term”, and two pull-out “short-term” parking areas are included for staging equipment and preparing for launching craft or dropping off supplies, and those “short-term” parking areas allow for free parking of no more than 30 minutes.
  • Enforcement.  A parking control system will be installed with license plate readers. The system will read and record license plates as vehicles enter and exit the site. A kiosk will be installed near the parking lots where passes can be purchased for both parking and camping.  Vehicles that exit after being on site for longer than 30 minutes without purchasing a day, week or season pass will be ticketed. The parking control vendor will mail tickets to the address listed with the vehicle registration.  A camp host will be on location from May 1st to October 15th, beginning in 2022. The camp host will also have the authority to ticket visitors who do not abide by park regulations. 

The County is considering the addition of fee-free days, free season passes for Choice Pass holders, discounts (seniors, veterans, persons with disabilities, children), volunteer days each spring and fall with free passes for volunteers, and the future integration into a larger recreation-fee system.

For more information, contact Community and Economic Development Director Cathie Pagano at (970) 641-7985 or  


Pictured:  Conceptual project map.

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