This video shows aerial shots of Sweetwater Lake and its majestic beauty. 🎥: Courtesy of Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT).
Governor Jared Polis recently announced a partnership among Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service (White River National Forest), and Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT) to create Colorado’s 43rd State Park at Sweetwater Lake. The partners are now working to develop a long-term management plan to improve recreational facilities and maintain the unique character of the area.
The acquisition of the 488-acre Sweetwater ranch property significantly increases the existing public access to the lake. However, very little infrastructure is currently in place to facilitate public recreation. Improved facilities, including a new boat launch, will be available to the public by June 1st, 2022. Additional buildout will follow the completion of a long-term plan, in consultation with the public, for expanding and managing the recreational opportunities at Sweetwater Lake while preserving the unique, relatively undeveloped nature of the property.
“Colorado Parks and Wildlife is excited to modernize facilities and provide updated and sustainable recreational services through this partnership. Our main priority is to conserve the unique character of the area while improving access to this incredible property,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director Dan Prenzlow.
The White River National Forest acquired the 488-acre Sweetwater Ranch in Garfield County on August 31, 2021, through a federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) purchase. The area had been identified among the top 10 priority Land and Water Conservation Fund purchases nationwide to increase public recreation opportunities as well as to protect the area’s important wildlife habitat, cultural and scenic values. This Land and Water Conservation Fund purchase followed the acquisition of the property in 2020 by The Conservation Fund, which was made possible by a loan from Great Outdoors Colorado and local fundraising efforts such as the “Save the Lake” Campaign organized by Eagle Valley Land Trust.
“Sweetwater Lake is simply gorgeous, and has great potential for even more recreational opportunities like a campground,” said Governor Polis. “This is the first of its kind partnership in Colorado to create a state park on U.S. Forest Service land, and we look forward to working with our partners and Coloradans with the ultimate goal of adding Sweetwater Lake to Colorado’s world-class state park system for fun, conservation, education, and to support job growth for the region.”
For more information, please visit the Eagle Valley Land Trust web page, US Forest Service Property regulations and Governor Jared Polis’ official press release.