1998: I moved to Nederland from Sugar Loaf and built a house on 5th Street. BOB had been running experimental boating sessions on Barker reservoir that summer, and I had a chance to kayak on the lake. It was a very pleasant experience. The sessions were run by volunteers and everything went very smooth, and there was lots of positive feedback. I don’t know the exact history before that date, but I do know that BOB had been working on the project for a very long time.
1999 or 2000: The reservoir and all of the water rights were sold to the City of Boulder for water storage, because water was now more valuable than the hydro power that had been the reason for constructing the damn.
The experimental sessions were terminated immediately by the city of Boulder and a “professional study group” was hired by the city of Boulder to determine appropriate us of the reservoir.
All of the work that BOB had accomplished was essentially scrapped, and we were told to go back to square one. I went to approximately five meetings over the next two years and listened to these “professionals” lie and allude and basically do everything in their power to drag out the process and wear us out while they fed us bad hors d’oeuvres. I believe this was all part of their lawyers plan.
The final consensus was that each boater would bring 2.4 dogs and that they would pollute the water. That was all they could find against it. This was at a City of Boulder city hall meeting which I attended about 2001 and I’m sure that it is part of the City records.
The Boulder city council essentially laughed them out of the meeting, but they had wasted more than 2 years and had essentially accomplished their goals.
We were told that we could possibly have boating, but it was up to the town of Nederland to finance and redo all the work that had already been done.
I personally decided that the political process was a farce, and decided to paddle elsewhere. This meant driving down the canyon or Peak to Peak hiway which wasted my time and polluted the atmosphere.
Gross reservoir now has boating because the FERC required them to, and I have not heard of any problems. The Boulder Lawyers managed to dodge the FERC, because it’s no longer producing electricity. The last meeting that I went to they said that they were going to build a half million dollar deceleration structure to return the water to the river by the old hydro plant, because fixing the bearings was not cost effective. That seems about as stupid as anything I’ve ever heard of, and I can’t understand why they don’t just put the water back in the river where it belongs. When the lake is full, it is not an eyesore, but when it is half empty it is not a pleasant sight. It is essentially a storage tank for the city of Boulder, and we should at least be able to use it.