This Sara Wilson story appeared on Colorado Newsline October 20, 2021.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced on Wednesday that the land surrounding Sweetwater Lake will become the newest state park thanks to a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the US Forest Service.
âSweetwater Lake is simply beautiful and has great potential for even more recreational opportunities such as a campground,â Polis said in a statement. âThis is the first such partnership in Colorado to create a state park on US Forest Service lands, and we look forward to working with our partners and the Coloradans with the ultimate goal of adding Sweetwater Lake to the Colorado’s world-class state park system for fun, conservation, education, and to support job growth in the area.
In August, the White River National Forest acquired the 488-acre Sweetwater Ranch near the Garfield and Eagle County border through a purchase from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund after the land was identified as one of the 10 priority purchases for public recreation. Prior to that, he was with the Conservation Fund, a non-profit organization that works to protect the land.
This new partnership will allow for infrastructure updates and increased public access. Improved facilities, including a new boat launch, are expected to open next summer.
âColorado Parks and Wildlife is excited to modernize facilities and provide updated, sustainable recreation services through this partnership. Our top priority is to retain the uniqueness of the area while improving access to this incredible property, âsaid Dan Prenzlow, Colorado Director of Parks and Wildlife.
The Eagle Valley Land Trust, which has raised funds and advocated for the preservation of the area, will also be involved in the partnership. Jessica Foulis, executive director of the trust, called the partnership “decades in the making.”
Sweetwater Lake will be the second state park created under Polis. Fishers Peak in Trinidad opened last year.
Polis also enacted a measure this year to establish a “Keep Colorado Wild” pass that will allow Colorado residents to purchase a discounted annual state park pass when they register their vehicles starting in 2023.