Boaters permanently banned from Wolford Mountain Reservoir after ignoring closure signs, district says
Recreators who allegedly ignored closure signs and launched a boat into Wolford Mountain Reservoir have been banned from the body of water, according to state officials, who are using the incident to remind people the reservoir’s campgrounds and boat access remain off limits.
According to the Colorado River District, some people “holding themselves out to be commercial fishing guides” broke through closure fencing and launched a boat, putting the reservoir at risk of invasive species.
Grand County dispatchers took the call about the illegal boat launch around 4 p.m. April 18 and sent law enforcement officers out to investigate. Grand County Undersheriff Wayne Schafer said Monday that the offending parties were issued a warning. However, that wasn’t the end of it.
In addition to the warning, the people and a Routt County outfitter involved have been permanently banned from using the reservoir, according to the Colorado River District, which manages the reservoir. Jim Pokrandt, director of community affairs, said the district doesn’t plan to release the names of those involved.
However, the agency added in a news release that Wolford Mountain Reservoir typically doesn’t open boat access until icing conditions are gone and inspection and decontamination operations have been set up to prevent invasive species, like quagga mussels, from getting into the reservoir.
The Colorado River District explained that if the reservoir becomes infested with quagga mussels, the damage would be irreversible and lead to a costly cleanup. It would also reduce the quality of the fishery and public enjoyment of the body of water.
Aside from the illegal boat launch, the reservoir’s campgrounds have seen trespassing leading to damages at the facilities.
Campgrounds, along with playgrounds, picnic tables and pavilions at Wolford Mountain Reservoir remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the Colorado River District plans to request prosecution for all trespassers and anyone who violates the state’s Aquatic Nuisance Act.
Only the reservoir’s shoreline remains open to the public for fishing with social distancing measures in place. The Colorado River District said the reservoir’s facilities and boat access will remain closed until it is safe for them to open again.
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Water managers from California, Nevada and Arizona signed a memorandum of understanding to spend up to $200 million to add 500,000 acre-feet of water in both 2022 and 2023 to Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, which has dropped precipitously low due to climate change and drought.