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The gaining popularity of Red Feather Lakes is bringing environmental health problems to the little fishing village that some blame on long-term occupancy of recreational vehicles and the improper disposal of wastewater generated by them.
Many property owners park RVs on their property more or less permanently. County code allows a vehicle to remain in one place for no more than 180 days. Proper disposal of wastewater from these vehicles has also become an issue.
Recently, Shagwa Lake has been closed because of fish kill, probably resulting from contamination by animal or human waste. The exact cause has not yet been determined.
Peggy and David Lichter, owners of a cabin in the area for 23 years, say they know of wells that are contaminated and that there are frequent code violations relating to the disposal of wastewater and the length of time RVs remain on a given property. But they say enforcement of Larimer County code is rare.
“We know there are two sides to these issues,” Peggy Lichter said. “Our concern is for the environment and the health of the people.”
At a September meeting of the Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee attended by Larimer County Community Development Director Terry Gilbert, the decision was made to hold two public meetings to get input on the problem; one will be held on Nov. 4 and the other in June 2016.
Future action could include more diligent enforcement of the existing code or an adjustment to the code allowing more leniency. Because Red Feather Lakes is a designated Special Planning Area, it is possible to adjust the existing code in Red Feather Lakes only, not affecting established code in the rest of the county.