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McPhee breakwater expansion delayed until 2023

Montezuma County is exploring options to double the size of the breakwater at the McPhee Marina.
Forest battles illegal use of closed routes; bookstore returns to national monument museum

Wave Eaters, illegal use of closed roads and a new museum exhibit were discussed Tuesday by public land managers at the Montezuma County Commission meeting.

The San Juan National Forest has delayed installation of a larger breakwater at the McPhee marina until 2023, said Dolores District Ranger Derek Padilla.

Funding is secured for the project, and it will go forward, he said. The forest planned to design and install the breakwater this year, but the lack of engineering staff has delayed the project.

The current 400-foot breakwater will double to 800 feet to create additional calm water at the marina. It is designed to rise and fall with water levels and adjust inward and outward with the fluctuating shoreline.

The new section will be a molded-drum baffle-style breakwater made by Wave Eater. It is designed to fit with the tire-and-cable system in place now.

The Wave Eater system is used at Lake Nighthorse west of Durango.

Unauthorized motorized use of closed routes became a problem on the Dolores District during the past hunting season, Padilla said.

The roads were permanently closed during a travel management process approved years ago to reduce duplicate roads and improve wildlife habitat and the watershed.

Illegal use of the closed routes had not been much of a problem until last year, Padilla said. Signs had helped to limit their use, “but that is not working anymore,” he said.

An inventory of the more heavily misused roads would be done this summer, and the next step will be to install boulders to reinforce the closures. No new road closures will take place.

Canyons of the Ancients Monument Manager Ray O’Neil gave an update.

The bookstore at Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum closed in 2019 but will reopen in March with a new vendor. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

The monument’s visitor center and museum has been open for three days a week, and will increase to five days per week March 1. A new special exhibit in February will feature a series architectural drawings from the University of Colorado Denver of the monument’s cultural sites.

Also, the bookstore and gift shop will reopen this year at the museum. The Glen Canyon Conservancy has agreed to operate the store starting in March.

The monument book store has been closed since Dec. 2019 when previous vendor Canyonlands Natural History Association left the to focus more on their stores in Utah National Parks.