Rocky Mountain National Park: Lily Lake Dam in need of repairs


Here’s the release from Rocky Mountain National Park (Kyle Patterson):

The Lily Lake Dam, located in Rocky Mountain National Park, has been rated a high-hazard dam by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Failure of the dam is not imminent, and park staff are evaluating long term solutions; considering two options to reduce the risk, either repairing or removing the dam. Until a long term solution is implemented, the dam will be regularly inspected and monitored, and a pump has been purchased to lower the lake level in the event of a significant weather event.

The Lily Lake Dam is situated at the headwaters of Fish Creek, which flows into Lake Estes in Estes Park. Fish Creek is about 5 miles in length and the elevation difference between Lily Lake and Lake Estes is about 1,500 feet. If the dam were to fail, the ensuing floodwaters could result in the loss of life and property along Fish Creek. Repairs are needed to the dam to reduce the hazard, or the dam could be removed and the area restored to natural conditions.

Lily Lake, located along Highway 7, has become a popular recreational area in Rocky Mountain National Park. The lake sits in a beautiful mountain setting, surrounded by an accessible trail. The lake is a popular fishing spot and is stocked with greenback cutthroat trout, a federally listed threatened species.

Park staff are seeking the public’s input on two long term alternatives. Both repairing and removing the dam would involve several steps. The estimated cost of repairing the dam is approximately $1.4 million, with additional annual costs to maintain and monitor the dam. The estimated cost of removing the dam would be approximately $150,000. If the dam is removed, the resulting lake would be about 14 acres in surface area and would contain about 39 acre feet of water. If the dam remains in place, the lake would be about 17 acres in surface area and contain about 75 acre feet of water.

To learn more about Lily Lake, the dam and possible consequences for both actions, please go to:

If you have Internet access, the preferred method for submitting comments is to use the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website:

From this site, select the Lily Lake Dam Project. Your comments can be submitted online.

You can also submit your comments in the following ways:

By email:e-mail us

By Mail: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado 80517

By Fax: (970) 586 -1397

By Express Delivery: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado 80517

Hand Delivery: Rocky Mountain National Park Headquarters, 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado or to Kawuneeche Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, 16018 Highway 34, Grand Lake, Colorado

Some possible questions to consider when conveying your comments:

1. Which alternative do you favor? Repair the dam or remove it?

2. Why did you choose the alternative that you favor?

3. What are the reasons why you did not choose the other alternative?

4. Do you have any concerns about the alternative you favor?

5. Have we overlooked something important that we should be aware of?

6. Are there any other ideas or observations you would like to share about this project?

If you do not have internet access and would like a copy of the detailed information that is posted on the park’s website, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206. Please note that comments should be received in writing by close of business on February 29, 2012.

More coverage from the Associated Press via The Denver Post. From the article:

Park engineers say failure of the dam is not imminent, but a long-term solution is needed. Options include repairing or removing the dam. In the meantime, the dam will be regularly inspected. The dam is located at the headwaters of Fish Creek, which flows into Lake Estes in Estes Park.

More infrastructure coverage here.

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