Conflict resolved: Sand Flats’ Fins & Things Trailhead moved away from crowded campground

Members of the Red Rock 4-Wheelers take to the newly moved and improved Fins & Things trailhead at the Sand Flats Recreation Area on Tuesday, March 5.
Photo by Doug McMurdo

A 40 percent increase in visitors at the Sand Flats Recreation Area over the past couple of years made accessing the Fins & Things Trail a nightmare – and didn’t exactly thrill the campers at Echo Campground where it used to be located until this year.

“We needed to separate various user groups,” said Sand Flats Director Andrea Brand. The process began last fall when staff picked a few options to take the trailhead out of the campground.

Brand said her staff partnered with the Bureau of Land Management, which provided the environmental assessment, and the Grand County Road Department, which built the new road – adding in the process about another half mile to the length of Fins & Things.

Sand Flats Recreation Director Andrea Brand removes cones as employees Mark Thornberry and Mary Santangelo carry away a Road Closed sign at the new entrance to the Fins & Things trailhead.
Photo by Doug McMurdo

Brand said the Grand County Council requested permission to change the trail plan and the Red Rock group advised. Brand emphasized the trail remains for daytime use only. Brand said the road was paid for with user fees, pointing out Sand Flats operates as an enterprise fund and is not funded with tax dollars. She said that when the snow melted, staff was able to install new signs and paint.

“There will be so much less conflict now that it’s farther away from the campground,” she said. “We won’t have a bunch of traffic going through.” Brand thanked the Red Rock 4-Wheelers for members’ input, the BLM, and Grand County. “It’s a good partnership,” she said.