Plan moving forward for Makoshika waterline

Brendan Heidner
Sunday, November 17, 2019
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This preliminary concept map proposes RV parking spots with hookups, primitive camping areas, shower building and toilets and camp host building, latrines and trailhead access. The proposed site for the new campground development would be ½ mile from the Visitor Center at the old rifle range.

A proposed Makoshika waterline may not lead to nowhere after all and could provide immediate benefits for visitors.

The plan to install a waterline is well underway. A consulting team from Interstate Engineering has been at the park to lay survey markers for the route of the line.

While the initial plan was to just get water to the new campground’s location, using the sum of the $1.3 million appropriated for the line by the 2019 legislature for the one project would – for a time – deem the line useless. With that, park manager Chris Dantic has plans to expand further into the park, making the most of the money appropriated.

“With that amount of money, we believe there is enough to take it to the pavilion and the current campground,” he said.

Dantic was told a pump house will be needed in order to get the water out into the park. The location of the pump house is not yet decided, but does not affect the plan for the route of the line itself, which is planned – at the present moment – to start at the park’s Visitors Center, cross the road and travel on the righthand side of the road before crossing back over to Gunner’s Ridge. There, the line will be capped until the official plan for the new campground is in place.

The availability of water past Gunner’s Ridge would bring immediate benefits and more convenient services for both rangers and visitors. Right now, the only way to get water out to the pavilion and existing campground for tasks such as washing dishes, putting out fires, or any other use is to go back to the spigot located at the Visitors Center.

Getting the water out as far as the current campground would not only provide convenient services, but also opportunities for future expansion in Makoshika.

“We are trying to keep this as low cost as possible because we want that line to go as far as it can. After the water is as far as it can, then we can branch off into other different projects,” Dantic said.

The timeline of the water line project is unclear right now, but is expected to be complete sometime in 2020.

Dantic’s main concern with the upcoming project was a road closure – once again – during construction.

“They’re positive we will not have to close the road,” he said. “They may have to close one lane, but there will be access during the project.”

There are currently no official plans for next steps after the line is in place. However, a schematic has been created for the proposed campground which details the possible layout. One significant plan for the new campground is the possibility of a dump station for campers.

“We get asked that every week during peak season. ‘Where is there a dump station?”’ Dantic said.

Reach Brendan Heidner at .