Lake Nighthorse Recreation Area Dedication

Remarks Delivered By:
Brenda Burman, Commissioner

Lake Nighthorse Dedication Ceremony
Durango, Colorado

May 14, 2018

What a great day. I mean, look at it. This is such a beautiful place, and it has such a rich history. It has a history of the people who came before us, it has more recent history of those who are on this stage and represent those who are on the stage, and those of you in the audience who came together and worked as we heard, for decades, to build this project, and to supply water.

So, I want to thank everyone involved for their hard work to develop a plan to open this beautiful place to recreation; to others. This ceremony the collaboration between numerous stakeholders and partners to make recreation at Lake Nighthorse a reality. This lake is a crucial part of the Animas-La Plata Project. It provides important water storage to help fulfill the water rights settlements of the Ute Mountain Ute, and the Southern Ute tribes here in southwestern Colorado.

Opening the reservoir for recreation adds to the already diverse recreation opportunities in the Durango area; opportunities that attract visitors through each season of the year. My boss, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has made it a top priority to open our public lands while also protecting our important resources, and I think that’s thanks to the collaboration of many of you — I think that’s what we’re doing here today.

To balance recreational opportunities with protecting those resources means we’ve also defined recreational parameters. To protect cultural resources in this area, recreation is only allowed in developed areas, and 25 feet above the high water level around the reservoir.

This is sacred land. Its history is America’s history, and I hope everyone who visits here will feel that sacred connection and respect.

Congratulations to everyone who’s worked so hard to make this a reality. Through countless hours and many years, you’ve all come together. This is so many communities coming together to make something happen.

Congratulations to all of you. It’s an amazing job well done.

For More Information:

Ceremony Marks Recreation Opening at Lake Nighthorse Near Durango, Colorado