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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks -

My company is proposing to improve a particularly troublesome boat (rafting/fishing) ramp. Not sure I'm at liberty to say which one, but I know many of you have used it. Besides the ramp re-design, we will also be improving the parking area so that available space is used more efficiently.

I have my own thoughts, but wanted to reach out to get some other opinions.
A couple questions:
1) What features do you appreciate in an efficient ramp design and parking area?
2a) What existing boat ramps/parking areas are your favorite and why?
2b) What existing boat ramps/parking areas do you hate and why?

I appreciate any thoughts you all might have. Cheers!
 

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I prefer a ramp that allows you to straighten out your vehicle and trailer before backing down to water. The ramp should be angled down stream for fast water loading/unloading and have an area to tie up while waiting your turn. Parking needs to be pull through accommodating truck and trailer or 2 trucks with circle drive around parking in a perfect world.
 

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The ideal boat ramp would include these features:
1. Clearly marked Staging Areas to get the boat ready to put in the water before pulling onto the ramp. The Carbondale boat ramp is a good example.
2. A ramp that can accomodate more than one trailer. Marked lanes help.
3. A place to move the boat to below the ramp while running shuttle or waiting on last minute bathroom runs.
4. A large parking area that has spaces to indicate how to park for efficiency. The new Eagle county ramps, like at Dotsero, are nice like that. The metal pipes in the gravel create angled lanes. South Canyon and Carbondale ramps are good examples of how the first person to park for the day can screw up a lot of spaces.
5. Signage that lets tourists in RVs know that they are parking in a loading/unloading zone while they run to the bathroom.
6. A clean bathroom.
7. A place to park boats above the ramp (with tie-offs) at takeout until the ramp is clear.
8. A separate area for kids to throw rocks in the water and dogs to chase sticks.
9. No poison ivy.
10. A ramp that you can actually drive down. Shoshone and Big Eddy takeout on Rio Chama suck like that!

An example of a ramp I HATE would be the Whitewater takeout on the Gunnison! It misses every single point.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I prefer a ramp that allows you to straighten out your vehicle and trailer before backing down to water. The ramp should be angled down stream for fast water loading/unloading and have an area to tie up while waiting your turn. Parking needs to be pull through accommodating truck and trailer or 2 trucks with circle drive around parking in a perfect world.
Thanks for the feedback! Yes, the straight-down, back-down is one of our proposed objectives for this project, as well as parking for truck/trailer in demarcated spaces. This project should also address the downstream angle situation, as we plan to do instream hydraulic modifications to reduce the stream velocity at the ramp location.
 

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1. (Similar to Gremlin’s first point). A few good signs are key. Signs establishing rigging/prep and tie down areas . A sign that says don’t block the flow of traffic. And a sign that says “If there is a line, hurry the f@#* up”.
 

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Trash service, separate areas for commercials. No bigger shit show than Ruby mountain at low water with the commercials trying to launch 200 boats of bubbas
 

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1.place to tie up while running shuttle.
2. pull through >straighten out>back up (see lower pumphouse as example)
3. angled pull-through parking like lower pumphouse
4. designated area for commercials to load their clients
5. launch area for multi-day people would be ideal....somewhere other than at main ramp.
6. designated rig-up area (fisherman and people w/o trailers)
7. should be able to accommodate an F-350 crew cab longbed and a 12' trailer:p
 

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Wow based on your comments Colorado kind of sounds like a shit show.

I do appreciate ramps that have two different ramps or more in some cases. This helps spread it around. Little Hole on the Green below the dam is one of the best ramps I've seen anywhere, multiple parking areas with 3 boat ramps, some with multiple lanes, docks etc. It's really the multi day crowd that needs the most room and therefore are subject to the wrath of other users that just want to drop n' go.
 

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I like the ones that have multiple ramps, geared toward different users. I am particularly thinking of smaller craft, like canoes, kayaks and duckies, that don't need as much space as a raft, and are more easily moved onto or away from the water.

State Bridge has one, and Two Bridges on the Colorado has a decent landing spot to the side of the boat ramp for smaller craft.

I once saw a large group of canoers drop a dozen canoes side by side on the boat ramp in Saratoga Wyoming, then leave to run shuttle. They left no room for anyone to get around them, without moving their stuff.

So, considerations for that kind of stuff is good too.
 

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I take it you are in CO so perhaps you've never been on the Madison in MT. But there is a pretty well designed put it at the take-out for the Bear Canyon section of the Madison. If only people would follow the rules. There is a dedicated rigging lane so people can stage to launch, this launch lane leads directly to the ramp so that you are headed straight back when you turn out of the rigging lane. Then once you have dropped your boat you can pull straight out and in to one of the dedicated trailer parking spaces.

The main problem is keeping all of the summer tourons in tubes from parking wherever they want and blocking the ramp etc.

Here is a google maps link to the boat ramp. Pretty clear in the satellite image.

Google Maps Link
 

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A lot of good considerations on vehicle movement and space in this thread. It makes me wonder how we always find ways to cope at poorly designed ramps.

To touch on other factors:

Pedestrian and bike traffic should be diverted far from areas where vehicles are backing.

Ramps are great when they are located at a spot on the river where the class changes, creating distinct runs.

Ramps at the downstream end of a straight section of river have much more aware parties landing at them.

It is nice when these areas are designed with more capacity than is anticipated.

Close liquor store.
 

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lots of good boat ramp design advice here. I realize it is the location of any ramp that decides a large part of the design. Below is a couple of ramp designs that work, but could be improved if funds were available.

One of my favorite floats is Deso Gray Canyons Sand Wash put in and Swaseys Boat Ramp take out.

Put in is plenty wide but at low water you have to deal with walking in mud to launch your raft. The ideal ramp would be paved to the water in both high and low water.

Take out at Swaseys is one of the best designed boat ramps I have used. Wide, paved, rest rooms, trash disposal and plenty of off ramp parking. The problem is rafts need some sort of artificial eddy upstream of the ramp to tie off and wait for a spot on the ramp. While the overall design of the ramp is about as good as it gets, because the lower half of the ramp has fast current and rocks to the point a great designed wide ramp is limited to only a few boats recovery at a time. This ramp is one that a few hours work with a dozer and/or bucket crane could make about as good a ramp as could be. And, yup, a short drive to food, beverages and places to motel.
 

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Agreed, some really good advice so far. The Carbondale ramp is just about perfect I think. A few things things to consider if you have room. A rigging area off the ramp at the bottom. A lot of people dump their junk then rig/de-rig on the ramp which just plugs things up. This might be covered previously but a change of grade in the middle of the ramp makes your trailer dissapear while you are backing. Also a place to tie up boats upstream and downstream while you run shuttle.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you all for your input. Really good information here and I appreciate you all chiming in. We were already proposing to add a second ramp a bit upstream and I really like the idea of signage to direct public vs. commercial to different ramps and rig-up areas. Commercial in this case is mostly fishing, not rafting.

Draft design proposal is due early next week, so I'll continue to monitor feedback at least until then.

Cheers
 

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Ice machine, booze, and loose women!
 

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The bigger the better. However big you're thinking double it and it'll still be to small.

How ever great the ramp is, all it takes is one dip shit to park in the wrong spot and a ramp becomes a cluster fuck.
Most ramps weren't designed for trucks and trailers. A modern ramp needs to be a combination of traditional boat ramp with lots of room to put gear and boats and room for trucks and trailers load and unload much like a boat ramp at a lake.
Lees Ferry is one of the best. Its big enough for trucks and trailers and groups to spread out a set up boats. Pearce Ferry is also a nice take out.
Yampa and Ladore both have nice put ins. The take out at Split mtn is good to. The problem with it is it has a bottleneck where you first enter the ramp. As big as it is all it takes is one person pulling to far forward and you can't swing a truck and trailer in and back it up with out having some skill.You add two or three trucks and trailers trying to back in and it compounds the issue.
Cache Bar is by far the worst designed take out I've ever seen.
The Westwater putin and take out get honorable mention not so much of a poor design but the mouth breathing fuck heads that seem to inhabit it any time I'm there. Be it the dude with the Tacoma who parks at an angle across both lanes to set up a 14 boat. Or the bros who think its cool to just hang out shit faced clogging up the takeout or the Mormon Boy Scouts who take up 2 of the 3 lane drying out there gear and can't figure out why four other groups are pissed trying to share the last lane.
 

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Ramp/Parking features & design

Toilets within a reasonable distance from the ramp. Often they are wa-aa-ay out there toward the entry to the parking area. Some may quibble about VQO's (Visual Quality Objectives) but when you really need one, a short jog looks A LOT BETTER than a long hike. In planning, just figure "Ok, I've put this off for the last hour and I've gotta go NOW!" How far do the commercials want their guests to walk while their group is getting that last minute of instruction ... how long do you want to wait for all your guests to go and return. And there's always just ... one ... more. Close enough so they WILL GO instead of waiting ... waiting ... waiting for another half hour when they WILL need to go NOW!

Okay, so I'm an old guy. A bit slower to walk now, and frequent to pee. It's the first order of the landing for many of us and our guests as well. Let's not embarrass anybody by asking how many have pissed in a cataraft or a self-bailer. Or just in an old school bailing bucket. Ah, the long forgotten sins of our ill-spent youth!
 

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I like ramps like Dead Cow on the Eagle and the Westbank ramp on the Roaring Fork. Those are my favorite because I like to people watch. Also, the shittier the ramp, the less people normally.


In all actuality, there has been great advice given on this post. I like ramps that are pull through and back up, staging areas, signage, someone working at the ramp making sure everyone is as efficient as possible, different areas for different boaters (duckies kayaks, etc).

I wish that the heavily populated ramps (all over the US) had specific put-in/take-out areas for outfitters, such as raft guides and fishing guides. Most of the time commercial trips (raft and fishing) are trying to get in and out as smooth and efficient as possible and I sometimes have to be an asshole just to get my boat in the water.

It kind of stresses me out when I have my boat ready to go at the staging area, and I have to wait 10,15, even 20 minutes for someone to learn how to back a trailer down a boat ramp. My favorite is when the weekend warriors show up at Pump house on the Upper C and get all of their stuff out on the ramp, and then have to inflate raft, figure out how the frame goes together and so forth.
 

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If it's a two lane ramp give it a divider of some sort down the middle.I think ramp 3 at PH has one. Helps to keep ramps hogs to one sire or the other.

A looooong apron so my dam trailer doesn't drop off at low flows.

+1 on tie offs with a eddy nearby. Nothing like stuffin your boat into the willows waiting for shuttle or having to literally stack boats.
 

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+1 on rigging area, keeps the posers off the ramp so the rest of us can get in and out with our pre-rigged gear.
 
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