U.S. Forest Service ranks protecting Colorado’s Sweetwater Lake high on its list of funding priorities
The U.S. Forest Service last week released its list of top priority land acquisitions for 2021 and the purchase of 488 acres around Garfield County’s Sweetwater Lake made the top 10.
After a year-long campaign to acquire and protect the lake and surrounding acreage in the shadow of the Flat Tops Wilderness, the Forest Service ranked the Sweetwater Lake acquisition ninth among 36 projects and asked for $8.5 million in support from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Of course, you never know, but we are very optimistic,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said. “What often makes these things successful, in addition to being appropriate parcels, is having broad-based support and that is something we feel really good about. We have a wide range of governments, agencies and groups supporting this.”
If the federal funding comes through, Fitzwilliams hopes to partner with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to help improve and maintain a campground and boat launch at the property.
“We are looking at a new type of shared stewardship with them and how we go about this,” he said. “Everyone is really excited about that.”
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