It’s about dam time: Sylvan Lake project nears completion |

It’s about dam time: Sylvan Lake project nears completion

After two summers of construction, popular recreation site expects to reopen in 2020

EAGLE COUNTY — It took a year longer than planned, but the Sylvan Lake construction project should be wrapped up by the end of November.

That means the popular site — referred to as a crown jewel of the Colorado State Park system — should be open for ice fishing by early 2020. Sylvan Lake State Park Supervisor Michael Wall expects the park will be open for camping by Memorial Day.

For the past two summers, construction crews have worked to replace the roughly 70-year-old dam at the popular recreation location. Wall noted the previous earthen structure did not meet modern dam standards. The new concrete structure has been covered with topsoil to resemble the historic dam. To complete the work, the lake was significantly drained and heavy equipment mobilized at the site for work. The cabins and campsites at the lake, as well as the trail around the lake itself, have been closed since 2018. 

“We have about one more month of heavy work,” said Wall this week. “After that, we will have some minor stuff and some revegetation still left to do.”

Wall said the signs along Interstate 70, warning potential Sylvan Lake visitors that the site is closed, will be coming down this fall.

Bridge to the future

On Sept. 26, the Sylvan Lake construction crews set the new pedestrian footbridge. Wall predicts it will become one of the most photographed sites at the park.

“Setting the bridge was a milestone. It is a sign that we are getting very close to completion,” Wall said.

That means Sylvan Lake will soon be a lake again.

“We are expecting to fill by the first of the year. The flows are really good right now and we are going to start retaining water as soon as we can,” said Wall. ” We aren’t filling it yet because there are still some people downstream who need their water rights.”

Reservations for the lakeside cabins are again open, Wall noted. The cabin reservations open six months in advance. Campsite reservations will open around the first of the year.

“We (the staff at Sylvan Lake State Park) are ready to get back to doing our regular jobs, for sure,” Wall said. “We appreciate the public’s patience with this project. We have done the best we can, as fast as we can. We are really excited to have members of the public back to use their park.”

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