Skip to content

PRESS RELEASE: Huge Proposed Dam Threatens Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park

May 10, 2023

For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

Huge Proposed Dam Threatens Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park

Lyons, CO: The small town of Lyons, Colorado, sits at the base of the mountains and the confluence of two beautiful creeks while serving as the gateway to the scenic splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park about 40 minutes northwest of Denver. All of that is under threat of the proposed “Coffintop Dam and Reservoir”, recently revealed due to a Colorado Open Records Act request.

The “St. Vrain & Left Hand Water Conservancy District” [“Water District”] will file its “due diligence application” to the State of Colorado in early 2024 affirming its intent to “perfect” its water right for a massive dam and reservoir — 84,000 acre feet — that would loom over the Town of Lyons on South St. Vrain Creek.

The resolution to file the due diligence application is posted here.
The 84,000 acre foot “conditional storage right” is described in the post here (page 651).

The due diligence application clearly states that the water right for the proposed huge Coffintop Dam and Reservoir is a “critical element of the District’s Integrated Water Supply Plan” and that the District has been “continuously diligent in its pursuit to perfect the Subject Water Rights…

For decades, the Water District has kept the Coffintop Dam and Reservoir proposal alive, at various times inflaming the opposition of local people and groups in and around the Town of Lyons. At one point during the decades-long controversy, local opposition made a model of the proposed huge Coffintop dam on South St. Vrain Creek towering over the Town and the local Jr. High School (above). A model of the dam still appears in the local Redstone Museum here.

The “due diligence” application, to be filed at the beginning of 2024, in combination with rapid population growth in the boundaries of the Water District which surrounds the Town and the area to the east around the City of Longmont, increases the likelihood that the dam and reservoir may move forward in the near future. Further in 2022, the Water District passed a ballot measure vastly increasing local property taxes that increases the Water District’s annual budget from $421,000 to $3.72 million, part of which was stated in the ballot initiative to be used for water “storage”.

“As the Water District files this application, they need to know they are inflaming local opposition to this dam and triggering groups like ours to engage against the District,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado. “Rest assured, we will be equally diligent and defend the beautiful St. Vrain Creek and the natural splendor of the Town of Lyons against this huge river-destroying dam.”

This press release is posted here.


Back To Top