PUEBLO — 2020 marks a first for the Pueblo Reservoir, as it hit capacity multiple times since reopening after COVID-19 closures.
“We encourage people to get here early, but we can’t guarantee that you’re going to get in. And so, if lots of people want to come use the park at the same time, it’s a first-come, first-serve system,” said Joe Stadterman, operations manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Also this season, two recent drownings; a tragedy we’ve seen here before.
“There’s a common misconception that we have a heavy current and all of our victims that we have recovered from drowning here are within very close proximity of where they went under. Drowning victims don’t move here like they do, say in a river,” Stadterman said.
CPW say swimming is prohibited for a number of reasons.
“If you look at our landscape, we have cliffs you know, there’s hills and buttes and before all of this was a lake, it was a river. And the surrounding landscape was flooded. And so, anything you would see above the water here on the surrounding bluffs and cliffs is the same thing you’d find under water. So, you may be walking, wading through the water, and then you could have a drop off where it would drop 50 to 60 feet,” Stadterman said.
While alcohol is permitted, CPW asks that everyone drink responsibly.
“Of the drowning incidents and the boat accidents that I’ve worked in my career, a vast majority of them have been you know, alcohol is a contributing factor. So, alcohol consumption does happen here and we encourage people to drink responsibly when they come to the park,” Stadterman said.
Pueblo Reservoir will continue to let people in as long as emergency vehicles can still access parts of the lake.
“we do it a little bit of a combination of how many parking spots we have. We want people to not park on our vegetation you know, it takes a long time to grow things here. And so, we ask that people park in parking spots. And when we start running out of parking spots then we limit how many cars can come in,” Stadterman said.