Sylvan Lake dam project will extend through next summer
EAGLE — With one notable exception, a cooler and wetter fall has been welcomed throughout the high country after a hot, dry summer.
But October’s weather didn’t cooperate with the ambitious dam construction schedule at Sylvan Lake. That means the work will continue through 2019 and various closures will remain in place.
“The construction is probably going to be running through most of next summer,” said Sylvan Lake State Park supervisor Mike Wall. “It depends on a lot of factors that are out of our control at this point.”
That news will be a bitter disappointment to recreationalists who couldn’t visit one of their favorite state parks during the summer of 2018. Construction crews mobilized last summer to replace the roughly 70-year-old, earthen dam at Sylvan Lake. The lake was significantly drained and the cabins and campsites at the lake, as well as the trail around the lake itself, were closed.
Wall noted that the original dam at Sylvan Lake dated back to the 1940s and didn’t meet current standards. A new dam was designed to prevent future failures and the concrete structure will be covered with topsoil to look like the previous structure.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the contractor for the Sylvan Lake project was able to complete installation of a new outlet at the site along with much of the dam armoring.
“In order to have a safe, quality project we need to extend the project,” Wall said. “We had a very aggressive and ambitious schedule and the weather set in and we weren’t able to get it done this year.”
The original plan called for completion of the dam this fall, which would have allowed the lake to refill this winter and spring. With the delay, the lake won’t be refilled on that timetable and the rental cabins and campgrounds next to the lake will remain closed to public use next summer.
Wall noted there were many moving parts at work in the dam construction, and there really wasn’t a single factor that caused the construction delay.
“We are as bummed about it as the public is,” he said. “We had hoped to open in the spring and it just isn’t going to happen, unfortunately.”
There will be limited winter use at the Sylvan Lake area this year.
“Right now they are prepping the site and making it safe for the winter,” Wall said.
During the winter, the cabins at the lake will be available for rent, but Wall said there will be construction equipment in the area and the lake will not be full. For obvious reasons, there will be no ice fishing at Sylvan Lake this winter. The east side of Sylvan Lake State Park and the visitor center will remain open through the winter and next summer.
“We will still have our upper cabins and yurts available for rent next summer,” Wall added.
To learn more about winter rental options at Sylvan Lake, call 970-328-2021.
Greg Sparhawk, along with partner Jim Comerford, have proposed a large development of fairly small homes for the north side of Minturn, near the town’s railroad yards. The partners are under contract with Union Pacific Railroad for the property, which is across Minturn Road — also known as County Road.