Committee for Palmer Lake seeking ideas, members

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The Awake the Lake committee in Palmer Lake needs more members and is hoping others step up to serve on sub committees to help with the effort to find ways to fill the lake and keep it filled.

At a committee meeting on May 21, Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O’Malley’s and active member of the board, told those in attendance that people need to take active roles. He said there are two ways to be active and that is to form committees where people can get together and try to find solutions and to join the Awake the Lake board.

Hulsmann said that the current condition of the lake is the worst it has ever looked and it is going to take a lot of money to fill it.

“Let’s find a way to fill the lake and keep it full,” Hulsmann said.

Hulsmann briefly talked about the water level of the lake, possible sources of where water can come from, hiring consultants and current fundraising efforts.

He explained that Palmer Lake is a water table lake and is spring fed. There is an alluvial fan which is a deposit of sediment that is built up by streams. He said what most likely happened, centuries ago, was that water came down from the mountains into the streams but over time erosion covered those streams and now they’re underground streams. Water still flows from the mountains to Palmer Lake but Hulsmann said it hits bedrock and looks for the lowest place it can surface and finds the springs so it can fill Palmer Lake.

“So in very, very wet years the springs charge and that’s what fills the lake up,” he added.

Hulsmann said the railroad built the two reservoirs above Palmer Lake and built a pipeline that goes to the lake, turned a valve on and that subsidized the lake. This offset water that went into the steam engines and water lost to evaporation. The lake continued to be subsidized like that for years. He said there is a railroad right that the town is trying to rekindle but the right is considered obsolete and is in water court right now.

He said around 2000 the state found out that Palmer Lake was filling the lake with water from the reservoir as they had been for more than 100 years and put a stop to it.

“We feel we have rights (but) the state says we don’t so we feel like we have to find alternatives,” he said.

He told attendees that essentially what has happened to the lake has been little snowfall and drought conditions.

Hulsmann said the last time the lake was full the group said they need to keep the lake full and there are ways to do that but they all involve money.

Currently the committee has a little more than $24,000 in their account and that’s for lake and park developments

Solutions

Possible ways to get water is through downstream water purchases, the Mission Center Training Wells even drilling into the Laramie-Fox Hills Aquifer.

“I am open to any new ideas. No matter what we do we have to raise money,” Hulsmann added.

Current fundraising efforts include Awake the Lake t-shirts which are available for $15 at local restaurants, an online gift card program where five percent of any gift card sold from local restaurants will go to the lake fund, the annual Taste of Palmer Lake which will take place on Aug. 24 and starting June 23 the Summer Festival 2013 which is a series of outdoor concerts at the Villa. Advance tickets are $10 and available at Palmer Lake restaurants. Included in the line-up will be CS 432, Skin and Bones, Tim Yunker and the Sound Junkies, The Pharaohs, Latigo and FUNction Pro DJ. There will be raffle tickets available soon to win a trip to Mexico.

Committees that are forming include grant writing, fundraising, sustainability committee for after the lake is full and committees made up of citizens who will take on the task of talking to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Colorado Division of Water Resources and other governmental entities.

For more information or to get involved visit www.AwakePalmerLake.com.

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