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Colorado Campground to Get Year-Long Makeover

O'Haver Lake Campground near Salida in central Colorado will be closed for renovations for the entire 2012 recreation season, starting Sept. 12, and reopening in the spring of 2013, the Mountain Mail Newspaper reported.

Ann Ewing, U.S. Forest Service information officer in Salida, said it will be a complete renovation or "face lift" for the campground, which is "one of the most popular campgrounds" in Salida Ranger District.

Included in the roughly $700,000 project are new site furniture, level tent pads and larger parking areas.

Mark Varhus, project engineer, said renovations will be paid from the forest service capital investment program. He said they will partner with Colorado Correctional Industries for the project.

"The forest service will provide materials, and the prison will provide equipment and labor to reconstruct the campground," Varhus said.

He said the forest service has been rebuilding campgrounds to meet accessibility needs for the past 20 years and it's O'Haver's turn.

Varhus said another part of the plan is to construct a solar water distribution system for drinking and cooking water.

Ewing said fixing the road into the campground will not be part of this project because it's on a different schedule.

"The whole focus of the (capital investment project) is the campground," she said.

Varhus said the plan is to make O'Haver more accommodating for "today's campers," like recreational vehicles.

Ewing said barricades will be put up to keep people out of the area. She said contractors will be running heavy equipment and the closure is to protect the pubic. It's a safety issue, she said.

She said she expects people to be upset about the year-long closure, but hopes they will consider the long-term benefits of having a "nice new" site.

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