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Will Dillon Lake & SUP Live Happily Ever After?

Stand Up Paddlers are currently required to wear full wet suits or dry suits on Dillon Reservoir.  Find out why below.

 CORRECTION 8-18-12 9:10 PM PST - Dillon Town Council does not meet in Frisco, and to our knowledge is not going to be at the meeting. The DRReC (Dillon Res. Recreation Committee) is the controlling board for lake activity, which is comprised of represtatives from Frisco, Dillon, Denver Water, US Forest Service and others and they are meeting in the Frisco Town Council Chambers at the Frisco Town Hall in Frisco, Tuesday the 21st of August at 8:30am.  For further questions please contact Mike Durkee at [email protected]

DILLON, Colorado - Stand up Paddle seems tailor made for a town like Dillon, Colorado.  All you have to do is look at the photos on their town website to know that you have found somewhere special to SUP.  In fact, the local scenery looks as though it came straight out of an Ansel Adams coffee table book which explains why paddlers really want to get out and enjoy the view. However, there has recently been some concern about the use of Dillon Reservoir for SUP.  But to understand why, it is important to know a little history.

Dillon Reservoir was at first a natural lake but the city of Denver felt it was necessary to have a reserve of water in the high country and decided to build a dam, which of course created the reservoir.  The original town of Dillon was a stage stop and trading post but by 1963, upon the completion of the dam, it was literally under water.  As a result of building the dam, the residents were asked to relocate and the original town can still be seen beneath the water on the west side of the lake.  Today the reservoir is extremely important because it is the largest water storage facility for the entire Denver water system.

With the important role of the reservoir and all the effort it took to get the dam in place, it is no wonder that the Denver Rules and Regulations for recreational use of the Reservoir are focused on protecting the water and preserving what was created there.  At DenverWater.org the general regulations state, "Due to the cold temperatures and water quality concerns, water contact sports, including swimming, scuba diving, water skiing and other water contact related activities, are prohibited. Windsurfing (sailboarding) with a full body wet or dry suit is permissible."  So far, stand up paddlers have been treated in a similar fashion to that of windsurfers and have been allowed on the water if they also wear a full body wet suit or dry suit.

However, with the increasing popularity of SUP and a rise in the number of paddlers going out to stand up, less and less people are wanting to wear the required uniform, particularly in the summer time.  It is no secret that it is very difficult to paddle with a wetsuit on in the heat without feeling super restricted and or overheating.  Also, stand up paddlers have been frustrated with the fact that SUPers often tip over into the water no more than any of the other non motorized crafts (such as fishing boats, sailboats, kayaks and canoes) which are allowed on the lake without those who are operating them being required to wear a wet suit or dry suit.  

So therein lies the question, How can the town of Dillon maintain the quality of the reservoir water and still provide a great experience for those who want to enjoy SUP?  If the existing rules and guidelines are ignored and the quality of the lake is compromised then there is a risk that SUP could become banned.  If SUP is banned and a solution is not found, the town could also lose out on quite a bit of revenue for local SUP specific businesses, countless paddling events and result in overall economic loss for the local economy.  Most importantly, however, it would just really be a shame to see so many people aced out of a really fun activity that has true ohana behind it. 

So we pose the question to all of you... How can the town of Dillon and the growing stand up paddle community come together to find a win win solution?  If you have ideas to share please either leave a note in the comments below, or visit the Dillon town council meeting which will be held this Tuesday the 21st of August at 8:30 am in the Frisco town hall.  Let's unite and help both parties live happily ever after!

CORRECTION 8-18-12 9:10pm PST - Dillon Town Council does not meet in Frisco, and to our knowledge is not going to be at the meeting. The DRReC (Dillon Res. Recreation Committee) is the controlling board for lake activity, which is comprised of represtatives from Frisco, Dillon, Denver Water, US Forest Service and others and they are meeting in the Frisco Town Council Chambers at the Frisco Town Hall in Frisco, Tues. the 21st of August at 8:30am.  For further questions please contact Mike Durkee at [email protected]

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Last modified onWednesday, 28 January 2015 13:12
Erin Blunt Robbins

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