Animas-La Plata Project: Lake Nighthorse uses

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Here’s an update on potential uses for Lake Nighthorse, part of the Animas-La Plata project, from Dale Rodebaugh writing for the Durango Herald. From the article:

What kind of recreation will there be at Lake Nighthorse, which will have a surface area of 1,500 acres (the surface of Vallecito Reservoir covers 2,700 acres) when the basin is full in 18 months to three years? A skull session Thursday at a meeting of the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District produced some talking points for the first public discussion of the matter, scheduled March 5 at the Durango Public Library…

The lake will have a boat ramp because the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the Animas-La Plata Project, took on that job after the cash-short Colorado State Parks Department backed out last year. The federal agency has $750,000 in severance-tax revenue and $2.25 million from the federal Wallop-Breaux Fund. The Wallop-Breaux Fund is fed by motorboat fuel tax. What hasn’t been decided is what types of craft will be allowed on the water. Noise from power boats or Jet Skis would be audible to residents in nearby subdivisions to the west…

Other possible amenities mentioned are camp sites, picnic areas and hiking trails. A more sophisticated operation could involve a concessionaire, showers and a Laundromat to accommodate long-term visitors. Board members spoke by telephone at the meeting with David Merritt, a retired Colorado River Water Conservation District employee now working for a Glenwood Springs engineering consultant. Merritt described the development of recreation at Ridgway State Park north of Ridgway and Wolford Mountain Reservoir near Kremmling.

In its only formal action Thursday regarding Lake Nighthorse, the board authorized Whitehead to negotiate a single-appearance contract for Merritt to attend the March 5 public meeting…

The first public meeting to discuss recreation at Lake Nighthorse is scheduled from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 5 at the Durango Public Library. Lake Nighthorse will be the body of water behind the Ridges Basin dam three miles southwest of Durango. The federal Bureau of Reclamation, which is in charge of the project, expects to start filling the lake this spring.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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