Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First


Changes Addressed For Upcoming Recreation Season At Lake

South Platte Natural Resource District is gearing up for the recreation season at Oliver Lake.

The SPNRD usually has a public meeting to explain and clarify rule changes and upcoming enhancements, but with COVID-19 they have to rely on other means to get information to the interested public.

A simple and painless change in registration has been made and will require that both the vehicle and the camping unit be registered; therefore they know how many campers there are and where they are camping. Each camping unit must register and have the camping permit properly displayed at their campsite.

SPNRD rules state open fires are only permitted in designated camping or picnic areas, and when the fire is confined in district-established fire rings, fireplaces, fire pits or grills they must be attended to at all times. Due of this regulation, according to Galen Wittrock, now every camp site will have an NRD fire pit. Fire pits have been budgeted and they will be a great addition to many sites.

Perhaps unknown to many people, the area east of the handicap and camp host spot is open to tent camping. It is more primitive camping, according to Wittrock, and that area is not open to fires and there are no fire pits.

Oliver is open to hunting and fishing but it is under federal and state guidelines. There are no restrictions as long as it is under those guidelines. Most of the hunting occurs on the south side of the lake and east of the dam – hunters must stay 100 yards away from public places. Target shooting is not permitted at Lake Oliver.

In previous years, Memorial Day, July 4 and other holidays have maxed out the dump station at the main entrance – so the SPNRD will be adding a storage tank to that dump station. The dump station will be doubled in capacity with this new dump station.

Another improvement will happen at the overflow sites as 5-6 foot trees will be planted around sites to improve the conditions. They will plant between 30 to 40 trees and surround them with cages to protect them from animals and other hazards.

Wittrock said that they are pleased with the donations, although yearly donations are up and down, he estimated that donations account for about 15% of Oliver's budget. There are big ticket items that are required to maintain Oliver, such as when they recently had to replace the conduit at the dam, which was over $100,000. The original conduit was from 1911 when the dam was built.

The SPNRD receives lots of comments about the cleanliness of the lake and the free camping, which is difficult to find.

Finally, Wittrock sung the praises of locals who volunteer, picking up trash and just keeping the lake clean. Most of those locals do it without any fanfare.