Hood: Balancing preservation and community at Sweetwater Lake | VailDaily.com

Hood: Balancing preservation and community at Sweetwater Lake

Katie Hood
Valley Voices
Katie Hood

On March 6, the Sweetwater Partnership, made up of the Eagle Valley Land Trust, the U.S. Forest Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, will host a virtual public meeting to present information on the past, present and possible future status of the Sweetwater Lake area that has recently become part of White River National Forest and is under consideration as a possible state park.

The Sweetwater Lake Working Group was formed in 2022 to represent the local community and has had seven meetings with the Sweetwater Partnership to discuss the future of the lake and the surrounding community. The following items are just some of what the Sweetwater Lake Working Group is focusing on in hopes of helping our community maintain its rich quality of life and ensuring all visitors have the best experience possible:

  • Maintaining the historic character, use, and number of people on the property
  • Preserving the natural character and wildlife elements
  • Improving walking trails and irrigation in pasture areas
  • Limiting campground size and use for basic tent camping and small campers
  • Providing an equestrian camping area that is reasonably sized for the site
  • Maintaining or slightly upgrading the existing operations of the lodge and restaurant, cabin rentals, the equestrian outfitter and the existing trails system
  • Improving the general flow of the site access roads and parking, as well as Forest Service access parking
  • Managing and minimizing potential noise, trash and damage to roads and trails from increased traffic and activity that could severely impact the land and wildlife

The Sweetwater Community consists of over 12 miles of dirt road and has been an established rural community for over 100 years. Some families have lived here for many generations and others moved here specifically for a friendly, quiet, scenic, and safe way of life. 

Visitors come from everywhere, neighboring towns, states and even other countries. They say they continue to return because of the rustic character, beauty and serenity this natural sanctuary provides. We do want to continue to welcome visitors to the White River National Forest Flat Tops, but we want to ensure that all visitors will be able to enjoy this peaceful, pristine area as it has existed, relatively unchanged for decades.

We invite you to go to the Sweetwater page on the Eagle Valley Land Trust website by typing EVLT.org/Sweetwater. From this page, you can register for the March 6 presentation as well as review some of the information pertaining to this process. You can also use a link from that page to continually leave comments to be considered during future planning meetings. If you are curious about previous meetings between the SLWG and the Sweetwater Partnership, notes are posted at EVLT.org/slwg.

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We hope you will join us and invite others to be a part of the March 6 presentation. Your involvement and input can make a difference!

Katie Hood is the co-coordinator Sweetwater Lake Working Group.

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