Fishlake National Forest officials have approved a permit and contracted with High Country Recreation of Dolores, Colo., to operate more than 200 campground and picnic sites in the Fishlake Basin and Johnson Reservoir areas.

It was decided to place the responsibility for managing the recreation facilities with a concessionaire because of funding cutbacks in the Forest Service.While the National Park Service is cutting back on its services, Fishlake Forest personnel believe the concessionaire concept will see users of these public lands experiencing an increase in services this summer. Fewer Forest Service employees will be needed at campgrounds and picnic areas.

Forest officials believe the policy will also result in better maintained sites and rest rooms, additional personnel being available for medical and safety emergencies, availability of more firewood for retail sale, increased aluminum recycling services and improvements to several sites.

The move is viewed as providing a high quality, cost-effective service to the public. All fees that are collected will be spent on maintenance, management and improvements in the campgrounds, it was reported.

High Country Recreation is a family enterprise. Its employees have been cleaning and maintaining campsites and picnic areas in preparation for the influx of visitors during the spring, summer and fall seasons.