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A Survey of the Recreational Resources of the Colorado River Basin







The Colorado River Basin


Plant and Animal Life

Prehistory of Man

Recreational Benefits of Reservoirs

Potential Reservoirs

The Grand Canyon

Canyon Lands of Southeastern Utah

Dinosaur National Monument

Conservation of Recreational Resources

Life Zone Map


A Survey of the Recreational Resources of the Colorado River Basin
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Chapter VI:


This division includes the San Juan River drainage and the western tributaries of the Colorado River between the junction of the Green and Colorado Rivers and Lees Ferry. The major dam and reservoir proposals in this division, Glen Canyon and Dark Canyon Dams in the Colorado River and the Goosenecks, Slickhorn, and Great Bend on the San Juan, are discussed in Chapter VIII.

The Bluff Dam in the San Juan River, 12 miles below Bluff, Utah, would create a reservoir with a maximum surface area of 28,500 acres and a minimum area of 7,800 acres. Since the reservoir would be located in a region of very sparse population and is to serve primarily for silt retention and flood control, it is not likely to have much value for recreation. The natural scenic attractions in southeastern Utah and northeastern Arizona will, no doubt, appeal more to the tourists than will this reservoir.

Of the other 24 potential sites in this division the O'Neal Park, Howardsville, Hermosa Park, and Mill Meadow sites seem to offer the best possibilities for recreational development and use. They can be definite assets to the recreational resources of the division. O'Neal Park site is in an open, high, mountain valley easily accessible from Pagosa Springs, Colo., and United States Highway 160.

The Howardsville site is a short distance up a deep valley from Silverton, Colo., at an elevation of 9,700 feet above sea level. The reservoir could be developed in conjunction with the old mining town of Silverton into an impressive high mountain resort area.

Hermosa Park is an attractive basin about 5 miles long and one-half mile wide, bounded on the west and north by mountains which rise to more than 12,000 feet above sea level. A lake occupying part of the basin would add to the numerous existing recreational assets of the region if the preliminary plans for the project providing for a complete drawdown can be changed to include a substantial dead storage pool.

Hermosa Park Reservoir site
Figure 62.—Hermosa Park Reservoir site north of Durango, Colo.

A reservoir at the Mill Meadows site on the Fremont River below Fish Lake could add materially to the recreational assets of that popular summer vacation region.

The proposed Silverton, State Line, Meadows, Monument Rocks, Recapture, Torrey, and Escalante Reservoirs would probably be of local value only. Two natural, high mountain lakes having existing values that would be impaired by enlargement are Emerald Lake and Divide Lake. Other reservoir developments that would probably be detrimental to existing recreational values would be at the Navajo, Blanco, West Fork, Lemon, and Teft sites. Aside from the consideration of archeological values, reservoir construction at the other sites would not affect the recreational picture.

The San Juan Division is rich in archeology and surveys of the reservoir area should be made well in advance of construction of the dams.

Lemon Reservoir site
Figure 63.—Lemon Reservoir site northeast of Durango, Colo.—Florida River flows along the far side of meadow.

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