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Bureau of Reclamation agrees to build Lake Nighthorse boat ramp
By Katie Burford | Herald Staff Writer The Durango Herald Online
At least one question surrounding a boat ramp at future Lake Nighthorse has been answered: who will build it.

Officials with the Bureau of Reclamation on Tuesday told La Plata County Commissioners that the agency would take the lead on the ramp, the fate of which had been in limbo since Colorado State Parks bowed out of the project.

"We're going to go forward on the boat ramp, because that's got to be done before filling," said Mark Chiarito, a resource-management specialist with the bureau.

The matter of who will manage the ramp and any other possible recreational facilities have not been resolved. The county and the city of Durango could play a role. Chiarito said the bureau is still hoping the city and the county might help with construction of the ramp, too.

Though Colorado State Parks is responsible for management at Navajo Lake and many of the state's reservoirs, the agency said it didn't have money in its budget to do the same at Lake Nighthorse, which is scheduled to start filling next year.

Chiarito said the estimated cost to build the ramp is $3 million, which has already been identified through a combination of state and federal funds.

News that bureau had agreed to build the ramp came as a relief to commissioners.

"Let me say I very much appreciate the fact that the Bureau of Reclamations is stepping up to make sure this boat ramp is constructed," Commissioner Kellie Hotter said. "That takes one big check off the list now."

The ramp most likely will be located on the east side of the reservoir and will be accessed by a new road off the realigned County Road 211.

More than 100 acres are available for recreational use at the lake and were envisioned to include the boat ramp, parking, campgrounds and other amenities at an estimated cost of $26 million.