On a beautiful Thursday morning in mid-August, I was invited by our board chair, Mr. Dana Adoretti to attend a meeting in Palmer Lake. Personally, I’d never spent time in Palmer Lake, just drove through once and man, do I regret not visiting more often!
We were there to meet with Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O’Malley’s Steak Pub and the driving force behind “Awake Palmer Lake”, a nonprofit that is taking charge to help activate the lake, and more importantly…keep water in it after it’s three year drought.
This once natural lake along the Santa Fe Trail, used to get water from natural springs and from a pipe that brought water all the way down from a reservoir. The pipe and water was used to fill steam engines in the 1860’s.The water flow from the pipe has stopped and the natural springs have been opened again which account for about 85% of the lake’s water. The lake is about 8′ deep and they have hopes that it will eventually reach 12′-16′. Only non-motorized boating is allowed and life jackets are recommended but not mandatory. Oh and by the way, they have stocked the lake with fish!
Even though the lake is slowly filling, Awake the Lake voiced some concern for the need to still do some fundraising. Right now, they are in a right-of-way dilemma vs the railroad. The railroad boarders the west side of the lake from the south to the north. This creates an issue for lake users because the majority of lake parking is on the west side of the tracks. The railroad does not allow people to walk over the tracks to get to the lake. This is where GOCO comes in.
Recently, the City of Palmer Lake received funding to construct a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks in order to create safe access to the lake and they have a goal to eventually connect the Santa Fe trail to the national forest. The funding also helped them to add an 18-hole disc golf course to the park area around the lake. The golf course is just about complete, the bridge is still a ways off due to legal issues, surveys and the like.
Right now, the lake is currently refilling but ready for action! Stand Up Paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing and soon, fishing, can all be done there. Also, if you have an interest in disc golf, you can rent some discs from O’Mally’s or, stop into Throw Colorado at 11 Primrose St, Palmer Lake, Colorado 80133.
To help Awake Palmer Lake with fundraising efforts, including their new ball field, you can come to the event this Saturday! UpaDowna will be on hand providing SUP demos (donations gladly accepted and will be given to Awake Palmer Lake) and stay for their outdoor movie, The Sandlot at 7pm.
There is also a disc golf tournament coming up Sept. 26th that directly benefits the organization as well.