Water News

    Spinney Mountain Reservoir in Colorado Opens to Boating

    Spinney Mountain State Park officials opened the North Shore Boat Ramp to trailered boats on May 29, after water levels rose sufficiently over the past month to allow boats to launch and load safely at that boat ramp. According to park manager Kevin Tobey, the park only allowed hand-carried boats on the reservoir until now, but water levels have been rising, and enough water now covers the North Boat Ramp to allow boaters to safely launch and load there. The South Boat Ramp is much shorter and will remain closed until the water level rises significantly, making it usable again.

    “Although the reservoir is still down approximately ten vertical feet from being full, it was down as much as 15 vertical feet earlier this year, leaving boat ramps high and dry,: said Tobey. “We are excited that we are able to open to boating now, since snowpack levels were well below normal through March, and it looked like we would not be able to store enough water to use the boat ramps at all this season. Fortunately the mountains received a lot of snow the first two weeks of April which really saved our season.”

    Tobey expects water levels to continue rising into July, but cautions that conditions can change quickly again and reminds us that we are still in a drought cycle. “We had below average snowpack in the mountains during the winter of 2011-2012 and would have faced similar conditions if those large storms had not hit the mountains in early April.  Many reservoirs, including Spinney Mountain, are still storing less water than usual due to last year’s drought which left reservoir levels lower than normal.” Nearby Eleven Mile Reservoir, which is usually full year-round, is only one vertical foot below spillway elevation, and water levels are slowly rising there as well.

    The North Boat Ramp at Spinney will be open daily as long as water conditions allow. All boats must be inspected for Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) when entering and exiting the park. Inspectors will look for invasive plants and animals on boats and trailers that could threaten Colorado’s waters. New Zealand mud snails, a tiny invasive mollusk measuring only 1/8 of an inch long when mature, were discovered in Spinney Reservoir in 2012. They have also been found in the “Dream Stream” between Eleven Mile and Spinney Mountain Reservoirs, Eleven Mile Reservoir itself, and a portion of the South Platte River below Eleven Mile Reservoir. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials want to make sure they do not spread elsewhere. Boaters are reminded to thoroughly clean, drain and dry their boats after each outing to prevent the spread of ANS.

    “We have placed a lot of emphasis on keeping zebra and quagga mussels out of Colorado’s waters which is critical in light of the damage they can do to fisheries, water delivery systems, boats, and more,” added Tobey,” but other invasive species like New Zealand mud snails are here and can be transported on muddy waders, shoes, boats etc., and can survive for days outside the water. They eat aquatic vegetation and algae that other desirable species depend on, so we want people to ensure they clean all equipment that touches the water before going elsewhere.”

    The park is open daily from one-half hour before sunrise and closes one hour after sunset. A valid daily or annual parks pass is required for all vehicles entering the park. For more information, call the park office at (719) 748-3401 or access information at www.cpw.state.co.us.

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado’s wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation. For more information go to www.cpw.state.co.us.

    Logo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife

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