Inmates Helped Renovate Campground
The U.S. Forest Service is reopening the Alvarado Campground near Westcliffe, Colo., just in time for the July 4 holiday, according to the Wet Mountain Tribune.
Located about 10 miles southwest of Westcliffe in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the campground has been undergoing major renovations since fall 2005.
Among the work completed was enlargement of the 48 campsites. Each campsite also features a new picnic table, barbecue grill and lantern post. Many campsites also now comply with the American Disabilities Act and others were improved for equestrian campers.
Each equine site includes a space large enough to accommodate a horse trailer and portable corral, as well as a water supply for the horses.
The camp's entire water system and the roads also received a facelift. "Returning campers will find drainage and the traffic path is much better," said U.S. Forest Service employee Carl Bauer.
Bauer said state inmates performed construction work for the new and improved camping facility.
"Colorado Industries, a division of the Colorado Department of Corrections, handled the renovations," said Bauer.
Throughout reconstruction, five to 15 inmates were on site at any given time. In a phone interview, Correctional Industries supervisor David Sloan said he was proud of the work completed by the inmates. "It gives the inmates valuable skills they can use when they get out of prison," said Sloan.
Bauer agreed citing the inmate program is a win-win situation for all. "The inmates learn a life skill and the taxpayers can be confident they are getting the most for their tax dollars," he said.
Overall cost of the major renovation project was $200,000. The last time Alvarado received a major renovation was in the 1950s and '60s when the campground opened, concluded Bauer.
Campers will pay $13 per night to stay at a regular tent or trailer site; the equestrian campsites cost $16 per night.