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 2024 Final  Recreation Management Plan and  Public Comments/Responses 

Final Vallecito Recreation Management Plan - March 13, 2024.pdf

 Below are the comments and responses received at: 1) The August 30th Public Meeting; 2) Via Email; and 3) Hand Written.  


Comments received at the meeting.

Speaker #1 - Rosemary Chaco

One of the things addressed in here is the use permit.  It’s a $100.00 appplication fee and I get that.  Now it’s a $200.00 processing fee for the application. I presume if your application is approved.  Not to go back in the past but down below the dam in the meadow the proceeds were used to fund a scholarship fund for graduating seniors.  We had as many as 70 vendors at one point one year and we collected from them, so we collected fees from them.  We did all the set-up, the advertising, the breakfast for the vendors, port-a-potties, dumpsters, the whole works on the 4th of July week-end for two days.  We made anywhere between $6,000 and $9,000 I think the last time was probably about $5,000.  It was a lot of work by a lot of volunteers for a long time.  According to this, in addition to the $300 there will be a 20% fee of the gross revenue and I just want to clarify what the gross revenue is.  In my mind the gross revenue is everything that is taken in but is the gross revenue of the organization or is it the revenue taken in from each vendor?

I would appreciate your consideration of thinking over that part.



The PRID has paid 48% of the construction cost as well as 100% of the O & M costs.  Gross revenue is the amount of money that is taken in by the permit holder for a commercial activity that is held on the project land for profit.    Nonprofit activities will not be charged the 20% fee on gross revenue (i.e., fundraisers, including scholarships, VCSA, and other community organization activities that benefit the community, etc.). 

Thank you for your comments.


Speaker #2 - Did not speak.


Speaker #3 - Fred Beaubien (? spelling)

My name is Fred Beaubien and I live at River Ranch at the corner of 501 and the Pine River.  I represent a number of anglers who use the Pine not only in our area but up and down the Pine River.  I recognize the Pine River is not technically part of the Vallecito recreation area but it is a significant recreational component of the area. We would like to know if there is a way of evening out the flow, to give you an example it was going at 590 if I remember correctly, and tomorrow it will go down as low as 10 or 5.  I recognize that the fishery is not the primary purpose of the river, that irrigation and the Ute demands are ahead of us but I think it is an important recreational component of the area to those who angle the river.  It is important to the guides, the outfitters, the retailers and the support folks who utilize the river.  I’d like to see if there is a way to even it out so we have a better flow in the winter.  We don’t need 590 at this time of year I understand there are demands downriver for power and other sources but if we can even that out so that we will preserve the fishery and…  the flora and fauna that utilize the river flows.



We appreciate your recognizing the purposes for which the Pine River Project was authorized for construction - flood control and irrigation.  However,  the PRID recognizes the importance of assisting in maintaining the health and ecology of the Pine River via the flows in the River.  We have demonstrated this with our voluntary minimum releases, during severe drought conditions of 5 CFS to maintain deep pools in the river to sustain  the fishery.  During recent years of repeated drought, it has been a  challenging time to balance all concerns.   The 590 CFS flows that you referenced above are irrigation demands.  We will continue to improve our efforts to keep the winter flow in the River as high as possible without compromising storage and future  irrigation releases. 

Thank you for your comments.


Speaker #4 - Jon Tuthill

I am wanting to comment on the use fees that are being charged.  With a family that has property on the lake for 65 years now and most of that time we have had a dock on the water there were no use fees required to park or do anything up here for many, many years and I’m curious how much revenue that actually brings into the district and where that revenue is spent.  Second thing is the focus into one marina right now, there used to be five, six, seven marinas up here all owned and operated by local businesses.  That money certainly stayed in the community then and helped those different businesses grow and thrive here. It seems like the things that are going on that PRID seems to be doing with all this actually seems like a detriment to the entire area so I would just like to know where these fees are, how much is actually being raised vs the money you use to get from private docks all along the shores and where it’s going.

Thank you for your comments



Annual recreation visitation user-days are not readily available for the early years of the Project.  Consequently, we are left with population comparisions to estimate human visitation and associated impacts to the Project over time.    In 1940,  one year before the Pine River Project was completed,  the population of La Plata County was 15,494.  (Source  In 2023 the population of the County is 56,928.  (Source:  This equates to a 380 percent population increase in the County over the approximate time interval you reference above.   Theoreticallyfor every one person that potentially recreated at Vallecito Reservoir in the early 1940's, there is visitation and impact to the resource of four times or greater today.  It is within reason that this projection (four times) could be conservative due to the contemporay emphasize on recreation that was not present in the 1940's.  We at PRID have witnessed a significant rise in vandalism, lake bed abuse, and basic disrespect for the resource that support the growth and associated negative impact projections. 

Conversely, the footprint of the Project has remained the same over time, while the visitation and associated impacts have increased by approximately four times or more as suggested above.  Area population growth is projected to keep on a sharp increase as new subdivision approvals have recently passed in Bayfield.  Other areas within  La Plata County are experience rapid growth as well.  To protect the resource for future generations, planning and income sources for the operation and maintenance of the Pine River Project's recreation component are imparative.

Over the years, the PRID irrigators have paid the shortfall between what recreation generated annually in income and the expenses of same.  From 2015 to 2019, the BOR provided annual grant monies to PRID to fendoff the financial hemoraging associated with the recreation shortfall. (i.e., Recreation annual expenses greater than recreation income, etc.).  In 2019, income from recreation was $123,270.  While recreation expense was $108,900, yielding, at first glance,  a $14,370 positive margin.  However, BOR's grant money contribution in 2019 was $56,300.  Resulting in a shortfall of $41,930.   The PRID requested a two year extension of the grant money period.  After a protracted  discussions, BOR granted PRID a two year extension with the stipulation that the PRID would "get agressive" in its efforts to insure that it would improve its recreation fee structure, so that at the end of the extention period PRID would be successful in attaining a financially viable  recreation component.  That goal was acheived in 2021.        

The revenues collected for Vallecito recreation fees supports all of the maintenance and enhancements of BOR and PRID's managed properties for recreation purposes such as:

 ~ Graveled parking areas and access points to recreation facilities.

~ Snow removal for winter access and parking areas associated with winter recreation  activities. (i.e., ice fishing, skiing, snow shoeing, tubing and sledding, etc.).

~ Operation, Maintenance and Replacement (OM&R) costs associated with picnic areas and recreation facilities, including vaulted toilets, and the courtesy boat dock.

~ Placement and maintenance of signage and physical restrictive barriers that prevent erosion and resource damage.

~ Provide moderate financial assistance to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife programs such as the Aquatic Nuisance Species Program, and help address inappropriate access and unlawful boat launching, and support the decontamination of suspect watercraft.

~ OM&R cost associated with Mountain Ute Lands (MUL) Park picnic pavilion, and trails, etc.

~ Organize and execute annual fall lake bed cleanup efforts from recreation activities throughout the year.

~ OM&R of handicap access facilities around the lake.

~ Provide a mechanism for recreators at Vallecito Reservoir to contribute to the annual OM&R cost of the Pine River Project for their enjoyment and the enjoyment of future generations.  

~ Cover salaries of PRID Recreation Staff who provide administration and oversight functions.

~ Cover La Plata County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies for law enforcement services.

~ OM&R cost of the pet waste stations, etc.

~ Unfortunately, at times, there are significant costs associated with vandalism and other careless and thoughtless damage to Pine River Project facilities, lands, water ways, and other improvements by the public.  Recreation dollars are used to address these issues and fund restoration  activities.  

~ Any recreation fees that are left over (residual fees) at the end of each year, are rolled over in the PRID budget cycle to be used in future years to help offset major facility repairs and maintenance costs like those we are facing today on the dam and spillway.  In essence, all recreation fees collected from the public at the Pine River Project are used 100 percent to sustain recreation activities and the Pine River Project facilities that provide those recreation opportunities.

As you can see there are many benefits derived from the PRID recreation program and user permit fees. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Recreation income and expense are readily available on the PRID Website in the posted financial reports.

Your comment regarding the historic number of Marina services at Vallecito is correct.  Historically, there have been as many as seven (7) marines operating at Vallecito Reservoir at one time.  However, if this many marines were to have "grown and thrived," as your comment suggests, would they not still be financially viable and  operational today?  Conversations with family members associated with past marina operations, during this period, suggest a more likely outcome.    This outcome indicates that those marinas failed due to the financial instability created by flooding the marina market with too many service providers.    PRID has no desire to repeat  service over-supply mistakes of the past.  We will, in the near future, conduct a sustainability study to project the optimal number of marina service providers for Vallecito Reservoir. 

Thank you for your comments.


Speaker #5 - Abi Satori

Will these questions be answered?  (Several comments made from audience that are not understandable). Moderator states this lady up here has the floor right now.  I have the floor but I’d like some answers.  I mean this is our community.  Moderator -You have the floor to comment on recreation management.   I get to comment but I don’t get any answers. I’ve only lived here for 4 years, I’ve heard from the old timers.  I love everything about this area so much.  I’ve been a part of the marina committee.  I was not a particularly good part of it but I did what I could.  My question has several parts.  I live in an area that has high taxes.  Where does my money go? I mean, I pay these fees. I pay my $50.00 annual pass.   And I hear that it’s going up to $10.00 per day now.  Where are these fees going and what are they doing for me?  What are they doing for my community?  When I was part of the marina committee, part of our agreement is just not that we have a marina run by volunteers. They are not getting paid, they are putting in a lot of time working our butts off and we are paying a lot of money to PRID for this privilege and giving 40-50% all this volunteer effort, where is my money going?  An all volunteer effort, I genuinely want to know. What are you doing for my community?  I understand that irrigation is the #1 priority and I am good with that.   That is the whole point of this reservoir.  I am good with that, but seriously, where is my money going?



The purpose of the August 30, 2023,  public meeting was to gather public comments on the July 2023 Final Draft Recreation Management Plan.  You were among many, at the meeting,  that were confused by what PRID and BOR were trying to acheive.  With that said, we (PRID and BOR), will strive to improve our communication efforts regarding  the "intent" that we are trying to achieve when we seek public input from our friends in the Vallecito community.  We appreciate your patience with us in this regard.  

To address your specific question of "Where does my recreation fee money go?" please refer to the "Response" to Speaker 4 above at paragraph three.  In closing, thank you for the service you provided on the Vallecito Marina Operation Committee!  The quality of your service was most appreciated!

Thank you for your comments.


Speaker #6 - Ronaelle Perillo

Asked where the plan can be found.  How do we get questions to PRID once the plan is read?  Thanks to the water engineer for a great job this year determining what was going into lake.



The Final Draft can be found on our website under the recreasion tab.  September 15th is deadline for submitting questions/comments.  Submit questions and comments to Ken Beck, Superintendent at

Thank you for your comments.


Speaker #7 - Barb Will

Asked where recreation plan could be found and how to submit comments. I understand the fees we pay. Can families that live in the area pay a family fee so that each vehicle is not required to pay a separate fee?   I do not mind paying a fee but each family member should not have to buy a pass.



See # 6 above for how to acquire a copy of the plan and how to submit comments.  

It isn't required for each family member to pay for a recreation permit.  The fee structure is intended to be family friendly.   The recreation permit fee is based on the honor system.  The fee covers the number of people (family members or friends) that travel in a vehicle to recreate at Vallecito Reservoir.  

 Thank you for your comments.


Speaker #8 - Amy Burchfield

I’ve lived in this area for 12 years and I have an ATV rental. I have also not fully read this, elderly and students who live in the area should have fees waived.  I visited Nighthorse and Navajo this summer, we are falling majorly behind as far as recreation.  We are not offering enough recreation.  As to raising fees…we need to raise the bar as far as what we have to offer in the valley for tourists, for the locals.   We applied for a permit 2022 to PRID and we were turned down, I’m not entirely sure why and I’m not sure how many other people and businesss  who are trying to develop opportunities.  We need to stay competitive with all the other lakes and reservoirs in the area that have much more to offer.  We are not keeping up, we are losing tourism up here.  I’ve seen it as a businesswoman, we are simply not competitive anymore.



PRID is contemplating waiving fees for special groups who recreate at Vallecito Reservoir.  For example,  fees will be waived for all members of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.  Fees will also be waived for physically disabled recreators.  We are also considering discounting fees for the elderly and providing an appreciation day(s) for all recreators.   

As stated in the comments, other commentors disagree that recreation at Vallecito Reservoir should mirror recreation opportunities at Lake Nighthorse and Navajo Reservoir.  PRID agrees.  We have a unique setting at the Lake,  and it appears that the majority of the people desire to maintain that distinct difference that sets us apart. 

Please see response to speaker #4 above, last paragraph. 

Thank you for your comments.


Speaker #9 - Sienna Quiroc

Requests update around ramp extension. Ty  with CPW states will have to go back and try to get the grant again for the ramp extension because “we didn’t get it done last year”.  Below 7,629 feet in elevation (water level) is required to do construction on the ramp, we never got below that last year. There was not enough interval around the ramp to extend (per Ken).   Asked if money comes from PRID, which it does not.  PRID does assist with back hoe, cost sharing, materials.   Deadline that money has to be used?  2 year money, grant usually comes through in February. This grant will expire at the end of 2023. Grant can only be used for what it was requested (ramp extension).

Sienna requests a better definition around operational needs and when water is let out Section 10.4. Vallecito Reservoir is an irrigation storage reservoir under Colorado Water Law, water is to be released for irrigators downstream (5/6) and irrigators for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe (1/6).  That is not something that PRID can control .  Sienna asked for a definition of “operational needs. Can the definition be added to document?”

Request by Abi Satori that PRID be more open with the Vallecito Community, possibly  communication problem between the community and PRID.  Community interaction needs to be improved.  Abi asks that PRID should consider using social media. Is there a way to keep false information from circulating throughout the community?  Recommended that folks in the area go to the source. 

Draft Recreation Plan is PRID’s way of communicating to the community. This is PRID’s communication document and it is a living document.  PRID intends to have local meetings at least to address concerns annually and wants the community’s input.  Read the document and if individuals have comments, provide the comments by September 15th.



Operational needs means maximizing the available water in a given year for the irrigation of project lands.  Operational needs vary from year to year.   

Thank you for your comments.


Speaker #10 - Did not speak?


There are several responses  that were not audible on the tape.

Respectfully submitted by Christy Korinko.  


Comments received by Email 


Email Comment # 1 - Greg Coit

Date: Thu, Aug 24, 2023 at 5:56 PM

Subject: Vallecito Recreation Plan

To: <>


Thanks for taking the initiative in creating a recreation plan for the Vallecito area.  I moved to Forest Lakes just over 5 years ago, and I find myself coming to Vallecito to hike or snow-shoe more and more all the time.

I 100% support the recreation fee, and I think $50 a year for the number of times I use it is a bargain!

I really appreciate that you plow the dam (road) in the winter.  While I do own and regularly use show-shoes, sometimes it is nice to walk without them and there are not a ton of places for that.  And I echo the sentiments expressed in the Durango Telegraph article - I'm all in support of more snow-shoe trails, please! 

I always have my dogs with me, and I always pick up after them.  I wish there was a way to impress on people that they must pick up after their dog on the dam, but unfortunately, I don't have any suggestions on this topic.  Maybe signs pointing out that they're basically polluting downstream drinking water?  I genuinely don't know if that would help. 

On that topic, I noticed that the nordic ski club recommends people throw their dog's poop over the side of the trail ( - this seems in direct conflict with the recreation plan that specifically says people should pick up after their dogs.  It might be time for them to change their website.

I talked to a hiker the other day on what we call Shaun's trail (but I think PRID calls it Lower East Lake Trail - it's the one that heads south from Graham Creek campground and heads by Brad's place).  She described encountering 4 dirt motorcycles on that trail.  I'm pretty sure that's not allowed, but I couldn't find any signage prohibiting this activity.  Am I wrong?

Anyhow, thanks for hearing me out.  And thank you for taking care of such a beautiful place that my pups and I enjoy several times a week.



Greg Coit



Thank you for your support of PRID'S recreation fees and our efforts in providing plowed walking areas during the winter.  We will contact officials with the Vallecito Nordic Club (VNC)  and ask them to reevaluate their disposal of dog waste as you have noted on their website.   The RMP clearly addresses pet refuse at Page 18,  Section 9.15 by stating, "Pet Refuse: All pet refuse must be disposed of properly.   Pet waste stations with bags are provided by PRID throughout Vallecito Reservoir."  We are confident that this issue will be remedied quickly.  The VNC has been excellent to work with in addressing recreation issues at Vallecito!

You are also correct that no mortorized vehicles are allowed off road in the Project area.  The RMP clearly states this at Page 19,  Section 9.23.  "Vehicles:  You must follow vehicle rules as described in 43 CFR 423.40 - All off-road vehiclular travel is prohibited."   PRID will continue to work with the BOR and the La Plata County Sheriffs Department in the enforcement of off road vehicular violation enforcement. 

Thank you for your comments!


Email Comment # 2 - Karla Erickson

From: Karla Erickson 

Date: Sun, Aug 27, 2023 at 8:01 PM

Subject: July 2023 Vallecito Reservoir Final Draft Recreation Management Plan

To: <>

Mr.Beck. My name is Karla Erickson and I reside at Vallecito and am a Colorado resident. I understand time for comments has passed. That is my fault as I lost the date and had to find it again. I think the plan is great and have no negative or other comments about it and support it. I just want to thank you for leaving the section about no ATV’s. It has gotten so bad up here with visitors tearing roads up including other residents. We must maintain our road ourselves and it is very time consuming and costly to keep it in good shape thanks to those that do not care about our valley. I totally agree with what is in the plan and am in hopes they never allow ATV’s to be legal on the roads at Vallecito. Lessons should be learned from the surrounding towns. I think you do a great job in our valley and though not everyone will agree it is hard to meet all needs. As a resident it would be nice to not have to have to pay the costs for permits but enforcement becomes hard, and people seem to always try and cheat the system. We also need to support the area where we live. I accept the plan and thank you for letting us review and comment. Again, sorry this is late. I will be in Albuquerque when the meeting is held, or I would be there in person.

Karla Erickson



Please see email comment #1, last paragraph above for regulations on Off-road vehicle use.  Your support is much appreciated.

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #3 - Lisa Yellow Eagle

From: Yellow Eagle, Lisa 

Date: Tue, Aug 29, 2023 at 8:50 AM

Subject: Follow up on PRID's Draft Management Plan

To: Ken Beck <>, Ken Beck <>

Good morning Mr. Beck:

Thank you for the call yesterday and the update.  I reviewed PRID’s draft management plan in May and noticed that in Section 9.8, there is a sentence that states “PRID, Reclamation, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, La Plata County Sheriff, La Plata County Commissioner’s Office, congressional representatives, and others have worked diligently to formulate a plan and process for the La Plata County Sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement services for the PRP recreation program.”  This sentence is the reason I originally called you to ask whether you had been working with any of Southern Ute’s departments on the Recreation Program.  When we spoke yesterday, you mentioned the October 2021 meeting and a meeting with the Chairman of Southern Ute as the basis of the sentence.  I agree that I attended the October 2021 meeting; however, it was to learn about the issues and I was there as an observer rather than an active participant.  It is my understanding that the meeting with the Chairman was also informational.

I am happy that PRID has been keeping us in the loop about the various actions that it is taking to deal with the recreationists that are not paying the recreation fees and how the Board has been improving things at Vallecito.  We want to continue to be kept in the loop. At this time, we haven’t been active participants in the process as the sentence in Section 9.8 suggests.  I realize that PRID probably wants to make sure that Southern Ute has been involved in some capacity since it has water stored in Vallecito.  Are you able to make edits to that section and remove Southern Ute Indian Tribe from that first sentence?  Then add a second sentence that could say something along the lines of “Southern Ute Indian Tribe has been kept informed of the process.”


Lisa Yellow Eagle

Attorney, Legal Department

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

P.O. Box 737

356 Ouray Dr.

Ignacio, CO 81137



Your requested changes will be made in the plan.  See new Section 10.8.

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #4 - Peter Nylander

Nylander, Peter

Tue, Aug 29, 9:26 AM 

to Lisa, Ken, me


One comment/question I have about the PRID management plan is if PRID would be willing to provide recreation permits free of charge to Southern Ute Tribal Members if they provide their Tribal ID?  I think Tribal Council would really appreciate this gesture if PRID is willing.  Also, Lake Nighthorse provides recreational access to Tribal Members free of charge.  Have a great rest of your day,

Pete Nylander

Division Head

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Water Resources Division




PRID agrees with your recommendation.  See Speaker #8 first paragraph above.

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #5 - Doug Savage

Doug Savage 

Thu, Aug 31, 9:02 PM

To: <>

Good evening,

My name is Doug Savage and my wife and I are frequent users of Vallecito lake

From our driveway to the boat ramp is 12 minutes

We primarily enjoy boating, kayaking and sailing

Our camping is usually away from the lake up Middle Mountain

We really appreciate your improved bathroom facilities and the general cleanliness of the entire lake 

The operation of the marina is much better than some of the previous years

As camping is not allowed around the lake except for the government facilities, could you also allow overnight anchoring of watercraft adjacent to these campsites? It would expand the use and eliminate a lot of shuttling required to pull your boat every night while camping. I am aware of the history regarding private docks but this would only be in the campground areas 

Regarding some comments about trying to compete with improvements like Nighthorse or Navajo, Vallecito is a special place the way it is 

We gladly pay our annual use and boat fees and do not object to the proposed increase 

An additional courtesy dock in the area of the boat ramp would be very helpful as it can get congested at times 

Additionally your employee James is a pleasure to interact with and is an asset to the overall experience 

Thanks, Doug and Pam Savage



PRID will take your recommendation regarding overnight mooring under advisement.  PRID provided a courtesy dock at the Marina this past season.  We are planning on constructing another courtesy dock this summer.

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #6 - Linda Simmons

From: Linda Simmons 

Date: Fri, Sep 1, 2023 at 12:27 PM

Subject: Feedback on Vallecito plans

To: <>

Hi!  We saw the article in the Durango Herald and wanted to take you up on the offer of providing feedback.

1.  First, EXCELLENT JOB managing the spillways on our unexpectedly full lake this summer.  Well done.

2.  We are fine with the price increase.

3.  Two suggestions  would be nice to have senior rates (I know that sounds a little contradictory to #2).  Also in deference to all ages, would love for you to consider a Pickleball court in lieu of volleyball.  Doesn’t arrant as much of a rowdy crowd.


Linda Simmons



Please see response to Speaker 8 at paragraph 1 above regarding senior rates for recreation fees.  There are no plans for either a volleyball or pickleball court at this time.  

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #7 - Katie Sickles

From: Katie Sickles 
Date: Mon, Sep 4, 2023 at 6:46 PM
Subject: Vallecito Rec Plan Draft with edits
To: Ken Beck <>


Sorry if this seems too much.  I started to review with my focus on Bayfield and looking for SWPP (Source Water Protection Plan) components plus any reference to economic value. 

Meeting and public

·         I don’t envy you.  PRID has a complicated audience or served public.  My guess this was explained before I showed up, however, it gets lost in the plan as well. 

·         There is no information on time, where or agenda regarding meetings.  So I can understand their angst.

Plan Comments

·         I formatted so I could review and may not remember everything I changed. 

·         Purpose and Mission Statement is where it gets lost.

·         Margins are too narrow and may be difficult to bind.

·         Not a biggy.  BOR instead of Reclamation – I am accustomed to the BOR reference and a couple times I had to reread to make sure it was Reclamation not Recreation. 

·         The definitions at the beginning of the document are too comprehensive that may be referenced in the 42, but not much in the actual document and should be moved to the end.

·         I added Hazards regarding drinking water

·         Please revise the "please" comments.

·         Added table references and removed the Photo 1 in the cover. 

·         I would like to see something about the economic value.  If I have time to draft something I will send separately. 


·         Recreation - Instructions mis-spelled

·         The 1996 RMP or other historical documents are not available on the website.

·         Could not find the 2023 budget

Kathleen “Katie” Ann Sickles

Town Manager

Town of Bayfield

PO Box 80; 1199 Bayfield Parkway

Bayfield, CO  81122



Your editorial comments on the Plan are being considered, as well the other recommendations you made that aren't related to the Plan.

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #8 - Colleen Dunnings

From: Colleen Dunning 

Date: Tue, Sep 5, 2023 at 9:13 AM

Subject: Vallecito Comment

To: <>

Hello Ken,

 I live in Aspen Trails, off CR 240. My husband and I recreate often at Vallecito, year round; mainly letting our dogs run, fishing, paddleboarding, and snowshoeing.

I support the 20% increase. Everything has raised in cost, management of our amazing open spaces is no exception.

Reading the Herald article, I definitely don't like the comment made by Amy Burchfield. I think it would be a tragedy to aim to make Vallecito into a Navajo Lake or even Lake Nighthorse.

Vallecito is stunning, peaceful, and I feel, appropriately developed for its location at the boundary of the spectacular Weminuche Wilderness.

Vallecito offers a unique recreation experience. As a local, Vallecito is my favorite place to recreate. - It is stunning, not overly developed, yet easily accessed.

Thank you for the work you do.



PRID agrees with your and others position on protecting  the uniqueness of Vallecito Reservoir. 

Thank you for your  coments.


Email comment #9 - Joe Atkinson

 From: Joe Atkinson 

Date: Thu, Sep 14, 2023 at 9:59 AM

Subject: Question

To: Ken Beck PRID <>


My question is why can't we at least try to keep the Winter cfs flows from Vallecito at 25 or 30cfs.

For example, If the releases were reduced to 450 or 400cfs mid to late September, Then 300cfs early Oct. then 250 to 200cfs mid Oct. 150 to 100cfs early Nov.  then 50 to 25c for the rest of the Winter. All the while monitoring the needs for irrigation, weather conditions, snowfall/snow-pack.

We know that a minimum of 5cfs is required but that doesn't mean the flow has to be cut to that small of 5cfs release. However if circumstances make it necessary to reduce the flow to protect the irrigation of crops we understand.

By adjusting the releases so there's enough water to keep flows at at least 30-25cfs through the Winter the higher flow rates would be environmentally beneficial as well as help the flora, fauna and fish along the river. This in turn would help the economy of the area.

Similar programs that work for the irrigation of crops and the benefit of the environment and economy are working in other States.

I hope PRID will give this approach serious consideration.

Thank you,

Joe Atkinson



The State would be responsible for administering priorities based on the inflows to the reservoir.  Pursuant to page III-5 of Reclamation's SOP for Vallecito Reservoir, "The minimum recommended flow is 25 cfs (Fish and Wildlife Service comment in May 1958 Draft Project Status Report)."  Relaxation of this recommendation due to drought has occurred in the past, and Reclamation can continue to work with PRID as needed on the minimum release recommendations from the SOP.  PRID will do it's best to keep the flows at 25 cfs throughout the winter months.  See response to Speaker #3 above.

Thank you for your comments.  


Email comment #10 - Preston Fisher

From: Preston Fisher 

Date: Thu, Sep 14, 2023 at 11:02 AM

Subject: July 2023 Final Draft Vallecito Reservoir Recreation Management Plan questions

To: <>

I have attached a word document with questions and comments regarding the July 2023 Final Draft Vallecito Reservoir Recreation Management Plan.

Please contact me if you have any further questions or comments.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this document.

Preston Fisher



Question 1 - 

The construction cost to build Vallecito Dam and Reservoir in 1941, was $3,249,000.  The PRID share was approximately $1,591,000 or 49%.   It is estimated that the BOR has over $34,000,000 invested in the construction of the PRP based on a 2019 price level.  In turn, the PRID has over $32,000,000 invested in the construction of the Project, and an additional $14,000,000 to $21,000,000 in annual Operation and Maintenance cost based on the same price level. (Source – “A Comprehensive Review of the Pine River Project Development and Challenges Facing Recreation at Vallecito Reservoir, December 31, 2019, PRID.”).

The 20% is the rate that the PRID BOD believes is a fair return on the construction costs, and the annual Operation and Maintenance fees paid by the shareholders since 1941. 

Question 2 - 

Comparison rates were not used.  Please see response to question  #1 above.

Question 3 - 

The 10 % refund on permit sales is a courtesy PRID extends to Special and Commercial Use permit holders for selling day use recreation permits to their clients.  It should not be confused with the 20% annual  gross revenue fee, for the business transactions throughout the year, of the Special or Commercial Use permit holders payable to PRID.  

Question 4 - 

Report the money and amount of recreation passes sold and PRID will give you 10% of those permit sales.   

Question 5 -

The PRID budgets, including recreation revenue and expenses can be found on the PRID website.  

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #11 - Tom Knopick

From: Tom Knopick 

Date: Thu, Sep 14, 2023 at 3:40 PM

Subject: Vallecito Recreation Plan

To: <>

Hi Ken,

I was hoping to make the meeting on August 30 to give comments regarding the Vallecito Reservoir Recreation Management Plan but unfortunately was not able to attend.

There are two things that I feel strongly about.  First is regarding recreational Permits by PRID.  We have been permitted the last three years for fishing trips on Vallecito and to date we have done just one trip.  This is because of the 20% of the gross we must pay to PRID which elevates the price we must charge for the trip to $695.  Most managing agencies we work with take 3-5 % of the gross and for those trips the charge to the customer is $525.  It is very hard to justify charging $695 to our customers. I also understand there will be an increase in the application fee for the permit which will make it impossible for us to justify applying for a permit.  If PRID would charge a more reasonable fees you would bring more income your way.

The other is the extreme low flows we see being released out of Vallecito in the colder months.  In my opinion and observations these ridiculously low flows of 5 cfs, and many times even lower, have significantly damaged the cold-water fishery.  I understand there is no environmental minimum flows but the decision-making process for winter flows has no representation for the environment or fishery and there should be.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Tom Knopick  

Duranglers Flies & Supplies

923 Main Ave.

Durango, CO 81301



Please see response to Email # 10 above at Question 1. Please note that the application fee for the permit is not increasing in 2024.  

Please see response to Speaker #3 and Email # 9 above regarding minimum flows in the Pine River.   

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #12 - Jeremy Veryser

From: Jeremy Veryser 

Date: Fri, Sep 15, 2023 at 7:44 AM

Subject: Opportunity for PRID Recreational Plan Public Comment

To: <>

Good Morning Ken,

I hope this email finds you well sir.  Let me start by acknowledging the fine job you and the PRID team did managing the high snowpack year/ runoff we had this year, impressive!! 

I understand the primary objective of the Pine River and Vallecito reservoir is irrigation.  I was very pleased to see that you’re open to taking comment on how we might improve the recreational aspect from those of us who own property along the river.  I must say, as it stands historically, it painful to look at the 5 CFS trickle the river becomes from roughly sometime in Oct through typically sometime in April.  I understand this is the “minimum flow” however, this has significant impact to the health of our river. Everything from the flora and fauna to the insects and fish to the mammals that live in or around it.  The requests I’d like PRID to consider are shared by many others along the river:


Aim for a higher minimum flow of at least 30 CFS through the low flow time period each year.  In a perfect world this would be 100 CFS however I know your team likely couldn’t accommodate that in drought years at least.  Seems the river is often around 600 CFS through much of the summer so I’m curious if there are times the calls for irrigation/Ute rights don’t require as much?  If so, perhaps we could only release say 550 CFS for example, thus reserving the difference for the low season flows


Enact more gradual releases when the flows change up and down in the spring and fall.  For example, moving from 600 CFS down to the minimum flow by increments of 50-100 CFs over a week or two in order to provide all the animals time to adjust with the gradual movements.

My wife and I, along with all of our neighbors, are so grateful for your openness to exploring a better way that works for everyone who benefits from the river.  Thank YOU sir!!

Jeremy Veryser



1)  Please see response to Speaker #3 and Email #9 above regarding minimum flows in the Pine River.   

2)  We are regulated by the Army Corp of Engineers on our step increases on releases, (i.e. 200 cfs increase increments per hour).   

Thank you for your comments!


Email comment #13 - Kevin Hronich

From: Kevin Hronich 
Date: Tue, Sep 26, 2023 at 9:17 AM
Subject: Recreation Plan
To: Ken Beck <>

Can you provide in writing in the recreation plan that it states all revenue generated from recreation will cover all costs of recreation and any leftover revenue will be used towards maintenance of the PRID project.


1).  The following language is found under "About Us" then under "History" tab On the PRID website.  "...Recreation revenue must exceed recreation expenses.  Alternatively stated, before recreation can help sustain the Project, it must first sustain itself.  Then, recreation revenue above recreation expenses will be applied, per congressional law, to the annual operation and maintenance of the Project.  In doing so, a notable symbiotic relationship is achieved.  With the assistance of the recreation permit fees, from those individuals who choose to recreate at the Vallecito Reservoir, these individuals take an active role in remitting the ever-increasing annual costs to operate and maintain the Project.  In reality, the recreation community is taking a proactive role in helping sustain the Vallecito Dam and Reservoir in excellent working order and condition, which ensures and sustains quality recreation opportunities for future generations." 

Similar language has been included in the final Plan at Section 8 Permits and Fees.

2) See Response #1 to Geoff Craig.

3)  We have included agricultural pictures on the website.  See RMP for revised language on Mission Statement

Comments included in the text of the document. 

4)  Section 1 Purpose – See revised language under Section 1. Purpose in RMP.

5) Section 2 Mission Statement – See revised language under Section 2. Mission Statement. 

6) Section 4 Management Authorities and Recreation Agreements.  1953 PRP Amended Repayment Contract.  Your suggested change cannot be made.  The language is a direct quote from the document. See first paragraph under Section 8 – Permits and Fees for new language that addresses your concern. 

7)) Section 4 Management Authorities and Recreation Agreements.  1984 Vallecito Reservoir Recreation Memorandum of Agreement.  Your suggested change cannot be made.  The language is a direct quote from the document. Again, see first paragraph under Section 8 – Permits and Fees for new language that addresses your concern. 

8)  Comment noted, PRID shareholders will still be charged permit fees at this time.

9)  See 10.4 Regulation of Vallecito Reservoir Water Elevations and Impacts of Recreation for revised language.

Thank you for your comments!


 Email # 14 - Williams Channell

From: William Channell
Date: Tue, Sep 15, 2023 at 3:35 PM
Subject: Recreation Plan


Comment and requests that be amended within the Vallecito Reservoir Draft Management Plan dated July of 2023

1.  Definitions - Define a water elevation mark that creates "dead pool".  This should not tie to the power plant and its needs to operate.  Should be set at a higher elevation mark for the benefit of wildlife and recreation.

2.  Provide a definition for the minimum amount of water flow that is required for the power plant to operate.

3.  Section 7.3 - Boat ramp (40 ft wide, two-lane, ending at elevation 7,629 feet) – I would ask that PRID allocate dollars within the PRID budget that are set aside from investment accounts for this extension, dependent upon water elevation of course, but not be reliant on the CPW grant status.  Funds in PRID investment account should be allocated to this within the 2024 budget.

4.  Section 8.2 - Not to raise day use fees and lower commercial use permit fees.

5.  Section 9(2) – Boating Hazards - Allocate funds within PRID annual budget to mark major obstacles within the lake.

6.  Section 9(20) – Trails – Allocate funds in the PRID annual budget for trail maintenance on the west side of the lake.

7.  Section 10.4 - Provide definition of “operational need” and water flows are required to achieve “operational need”.  This whole section is way to vague and needs rewritten to be clearer to the community.  The blanket statement of reserving the right is not justifiable especially when a power plan is tied to the water elevation of the lake.

Please advise the receipt of this email and necessary responses.


Will Channell



1)  Dead Pool, as defined in the Draft Recreation Management Plan, is a term used by the BOR to indicate the elevation of a reservoir where water can no longer be released from the outlet works of a given reservoir.  Your use of the term “dead pool” appears to focus on establishing a minimum pool in Vallecito Reservoir that provides a safe maximum drawn-down elevation which would provide wildlife and recreation minimal benefits.  The dead pool at Vallecito Reservoir is at elevation ?,??? feet, with a water capacity of ??? AF.  Available hydrologic data indicates that Vallecito Reservoir has never been drawn down to this elevation in its 83 years of operation.  Consequently, the Reservoir has a natural “dead pool” zone that provides minimal wildlife and recreation benefits that have not been utilized. Dead Pool is not tied to the Power Plant operations.

2)  The Power Plant is designed to operate from approximately 30 to 700 CFS.

3)  PRID’s primary function is to manage irrigation flows in the Pine River Project to irrigate 65,000 acres of irrigatable lands in the Pine River Drainage.  We are also BOR’s Recreation Managing Partner.  Historically, recreation has cost the PRID monies that were intended for its irrigation functions.  That subsidized spending has been corrected.  In addition, project facilities have deteriorated over the last 80 years of use to a point where repairs to the Spillway and radial gates are needed.  Preliminary repair estimates are in the tens if not 100 million dollars or more.   Consequently, at this time, monies derived from irrigation and recreation sources will be used primarily to fund needed major Spillway repairs and not to promote significant recreation improvements.

As you noted in your comment, we applied for and were successful in obtaining a grant for the boat dock extension through CPW in 2022.  Unfortunately, the lake elevation did not drop enough to enable construction of the extension to commence.  We will continue to look for opportunities to extend the boat ramp and other recreation improvements with available grant monies. 

4)  Comment Noted.

5)  As stated in 9.2 Boating Hazards:  Vallecito Lake is a reservoir.  The lake levels fluctuate.  Potential boating hazards are always changing.  Boat at your own risk. PRID does not mark hazards.  Boaters should exercise common sense. When underway, stay a safe distance from the shoreline.  Reduce vessel speed when operating in an unfamiliar area of the lake.  Remember, as the lake level drops, islands and other boating hazards such as tree stumps, rocks, etc., present themselves throughout the lake surface. 

6. 9.20 Trails.  See response to Question 3) above.  We have volunteer groups who work hard all spring, summer and fall to clean and maintain trails around the Lake.  

7.  10.4. Regulation of Vallecito Reservoir Water Elevations and Impacts on Recreation

Per the concession contract with VCSA, “Reclamation and the District reserve the right to regulate water levels and allow fluctuations according to operational needs.”  As stated throughout this document, irrigation is the primary focus and function of the Pine River Project.  Recreation activities are secondary.  Irrigation operational needs vary from year to year and consist of delivering available irrigation water to Project irrigated lands in accordance with the Prior Appropriation System – First in Time, First in Right.  To summarize, in years with less storage water, Junior appropriation irrigation water will be curtailed through the Colorado Division of Water Resources to first meet Senior appropriation needs. When irrigation is impacted by these low water years, recreation will also be impacted.  Consequently, during these water shortage years, PRID will continue to evaluate the impacts of Vallecito Reservoir elevation on recreation activities and work with recreation partners to minimize impacts as much as possible.

Thank you for your comments!


Email 15 Paul Black

From: Paul Black
Date: Fri, Oct 6, 2023 at 5:45 PM
Subject: Rec Plan Shareholder Comments


As a shareholder I believe we need more time to thoroughly review the "Vallecito Reservoir Draft Recreation Management Plan" (VRDRMP).  Do we as shareholders need to request an extension from the Bureau of Reclamation?  Can you please explain the process and timeline for this document?

I would also like clarification if the (VRDRMP) is the same thing as the "Reservoir Area Management Plan" which is required in the 1984 contract N0. 4_02-40-L4010 (see number 11)?  *see attached contract

If not, is there a Reservoir Area Management Plan?

If PRID is required to have one or both of these documents for the public as informational pieces, I believe it is most important to spell out the purpose of the Vallecito Project.




      #4 Recreation

Referencing the "Purpose" and "Mission Statement" in the VRDRMP I would like to see those paragraphs clearly define the purpose behind why Vallecito Reservoir was built in the first place.  When the public reads this document, it needs to be CLEAR that the Reservoir will have fluctuations of water level based on irrigation demands and flood control as its first priority - not recreational purposes. 

There needs to be more discussion between shareholders and PRID staff as to Recreation in general at Vallecito  I believe there are significant impacts to the shareholders concerning recreation.  We need to understand what this means financially and for future development.

Thank you,

Paul Black - Shareholder



1)  See response to Geoff Craig #1. 

2)  Yes, the two plans have different names, but they are the same.

3)  See revised RMP Mission Statement

4)  Our Quarterly Board Meetings are the second Tuesday in April, July, October and then our Annual Board Meeting is in January.  Your comments are welcome. 

Thank you for your comments!


Email #16 Tom Kenner

From: Tom Kenner 
Date: Sat, Oct 7, 2023 at 9:29 AM
Subject: Draft rec plan
To: <>


Attached are some suggested changes to the Vallecito rec plan. I believe it is paramount that the public understands that Vallecito Dam's number one purpose is to provide irrigation water to its shareholders. The current draft has some language that I believe could be confusing to the public, leading them to think that recreation is a priority, rather than something that is simply allowed. I believe it would serve the shareholders better if the following changes were made. 

Change the wording in the purpose to make it clear that the purpose of the rec plan is to do what is stated in that section, but those things are not the purpose of the project itself, and any recreation activity will not interfere with the other functions of the project.

 Adjust the mission statement to prioritize the functions of the project and associated activities.

 Work with the BOR to clarify the statements about how the revenue from recreation will be spent. Making it clear that recreation will pay for itself, and anything above that can be spent on any aspect of O,M,&R of the project.

 Change the statement in section 10.4 pertaining to water levels to make it crystal clear that at no time will recreation determine water levels in the lake. That the water level is determined only by the needs of irrigators and for flood control. 


Tom Kenner



Please see response to Kevin Hronich and revised RMP. 

Thank you for your comments!


Email #17 Geoff Craig

From: Geoff Craig 
Date: Sun, Oct 8, 2023 at 10:54 PM
Subject: Schroder and Los Pinos Ditch Comments on Recreation Management Plan
To: <>

Hi Ken,

The Schroder and Los Pinos Ditch Companies have asked me to submit comments on the Vallecito Reservoir Draft Recreation Management Plan on their behalf.  Attached is the document with our comments in redline. 

Additionally, here are some additional comments and questions: 

1.            We request that the final draft be delayed and that PRID shareholders be given at least another 30 days to review and comment on the Plan. 

2.            The 1984 BOR – PRID Rec Agreement makes it very clear in numerous provisions that irrigation is the primary purpose of the reservoir, and rec is subordinate to irrigation.  It also says that water levels will fluctuate to meet irrigation demand.  PRID’s Draft Rec Plan makes it sound like rec is equal to or perhaps even superior to irrigation, by not stating specifically that rec is subordinate, and including language stating the PRID will work with rec users to minimize water level disruptions to rec.  Some of our proposed changes make it clear that irrigation is the primary purpose, consistent with the 1984 Rec Agreement and with the authorizing legislation for Vallecito Reservoir.

3.            The 1984 agreement requires PRID to account for its revenues and expenses for irrigation.  Is PRID doing that?  Please provide us with PRID’s accounting records so we can see how much PRID is receiving and spending on rec, and whether irrigators are subsidizing rec. 

4.            PRID is required under the 1984 Rec Agreement to indemnify BOR from any liability.  Has PRID named BOR an additional insured on its insurance policy?  Is PRID’s insurance adequate to insure any liability related to rec management?     

Thanks for your attention to our comments. 

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.   


Geoff Craig



1)  We delayed finalizing the draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) from October 16, 2023, as promised the public and BOR until after the Annual Shareholders Meeting on January 27, 2024.  At the meeting, we encouraged everyone to ask questions or send in comment by mid-February.    All were told that the plan would be finalized by the 1st of March.  As of March 1st, we received no additional comments or questions.

2) Language has been added to strengthen the irrigation and flood control purpose.  Please see Response to William Channell # 2 and #7.

3). The financial information on Recreation is provided on PRID’s website and at our Annual Meeting under 2024 budget. 

4)  According to BOR and our legal counsel.  Our insurance indemnification is in line with all BOR Projects.

Comments included in the text of the document. 

5)  Section 1 Purpose – See revised language under Section 1. Purpose in RMP.

6) Section 2 Mission Statement – See revised language under Section 2. Mission Statement.  

7) Section 4 Management Authorities and Recreation Agreements.  BOR Input

8) Section 8.2 Fees.  Our Fees were increased in 2024 to continue our efforts in covering recreation expenses with recreation income. 

9) Section 8.3 Establishing fee pricing levels for recreation permits.  Comment noted.

10) 10.4  Regulation of Vallecito Reservoir Water Elevations and impacts on Recreation. See revised language on RMP.

Thank you for your comments!




Comments received by Hand Delivered Index Cards


Index card comment #1 - Tim O'Connell

Add Appendix A Budget.

1) What is definition of operational Need.   Section 10.4?

2) Section 7.3

Update on Ramp Extension

Reverves at 2.6 mm Dollars



Comprehenseive budget documents are presented for public review on the PRID website under the "Transparency" tab.

Please see response Speaker #5 above for definition of "Operational Needs."

The PRID, in conjunction with he CPW, Planned to extend the Boat Ramp and additional 20 feet.  Funding for the extension was awarded under the "Fishing is Fun Grant Program."  The end of the existing ramp is at elevation 7,629 feet.  In order to initiate construction of the ramp extension, the water elevation in Vallecito Reservoir would need to be at the  elevation of 7,620, to allow for a drying out of the Lake bed for construction activities to  begin.  The necessary Lake elevation drop, to initiate construction activities, was not realized in 2022.  At present (October 1, 2023) the Lake elevation is  7,636.52 feet - 16.52 feet above the anticipated elevation where construction activities could be initiated for construction of the ramp extension.  The construction window for extending the Boat Ramp is narrow at best.   In the past 25 years (2007 to present) the elevation of Vallecito Reservoir has dropped below the 7,629 feet elevation, the end of the existing Boat Ramp, on three different occasions: August 22, 2013; August 9, 2019; and September 21, 2021.  

The reserve money that you are refering to, are monies that have been setaside by the forward thinking of the PRID BOD to remit our (PRID's) upcoming costshare expenses for the needed repairs to the Spillway.  It is likely that the PRID's portion of the repair cost will be several times more that we have saved to date  for this purpose. 

Thank you for your comment!


Index card comment #2 - Matt Kleinert

Fee structure based on historic norms + 10% for inflation plus expenses.  Just an example.  Only to mean that the fee structure should be specific to Vallecito.  Lake Nighthorse and other surrounmding areas don't affect our needs.



Your comment is well founded.  PRID's intention is to set our fee structure inline with  our specific needs at Vallecito Reservoir and we will continue to do so.  We have provided the fee comparisons from other neighboring recreation site in an effort to validate that recreation opportunity costs to the public are a "bargin" from a recreation experience and the quality of that experience at Vallecito Dam and Reservor.   

Thank you for your comment!