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More than 50 people showed up in the first hour of a four-hour event designed to spread the word and inform neighbors about a proposal to increase water storage at Bear Creek Lake Park. The plan, currently being studied by the Army Corps of Engineers, would allow up to 22,000-acre feet of water storage in the Lake which currently stores roughly 2,000-acre feet of water.

Katie Gill, a community member opposed to the increase, wants neighbors to be aware of what’s at stake if the expansion plan is carried out.

“We are providing information, opportunities for action and answering questions about the Bear Creek Lake expansion proposal,” she said. “We’re giving out maps that would show how the expansion would devastate the park as we know it.”

Gill’s group was also raising money to set up an unincorporated nonprofit organization and print literature, stickers, banners and yard signs to raise awareness of the issue throughout Lakewood, Morrison and South Jefferson County.

“People are being generous in their attempt to save the park,” she said. “They want to do something.”

Lynn Knutson, who’s lived in the area for 21 years, came to lend a hand. She said the expansion would have a really negative affect on the park. 

“A lot of us who’ve lived here for years — this is one of the reasons why we moved here,” she said. “The park would be dramatically reduced to a big mud flat most of the time because all of the acreage they want to take for a dam won’t have water in it most of the time.”

Lynnda Gies, another long-time resident of the area has many concerns about the expansion. She said expansion of water storage would take away many of the recreational opportunities the park has to offer. But more importantly, she’s concerned with loss of precious animal and bird habitat.

“My whole family comes here to ride bikes and kayak,” Gies said. “And it concerns me because for the last several years we’ve been filling up every space with housing. I’m worried that my grandchildren won’t have the opportunity to see all of the wildlife that call this park home. The area’s become so developed that the animals would have nowhere else to go if this habitat is lost.”