DOW to spruce up Lake Christine |

DOW to spruce up Lake Christine

A little lake that has long been considered an unpolished gem by Basalt residents will soon receive some special attention from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

DOW Area Manager Pat Tucker said the state agency hasn’t done a good enough job of making Lake Christine attractive to fishermen and other recreationalists.

“There is some real opportunity there,” Tucker told the Basalt Town Council at a meeting earlier this month. “We have a desire to pick that place up a bit.”

Lake Christine is located off Homestead Drive near the shooting range, just west of downtown Basalt. The small lake makes a great refuge for ducks, birds and other wildlife, but it doesn’t have the facilities to handle the human use it already receives.

Trash like fishing line, cigarette butts and candy wrappers end up on the shore. A foam football was floating in the water among cattails yesterday. A cinder block outhouse has universally been described as “disgusting” and unusable. A makeshift trail meanders around the lake, venturing into marshy areas in some places.

The lake itself has a thick layer of algae and other aquatic plants growing on about half of it. Jack Schuss, a civic leader in Basalt, has urged the state agency to rehabilitate the lake enough to transform it into a good fishing hole.

“It’s an attractive resource but nobody is using it,” Schuss said.

The low level of administration that takes place at the state-owned lake is done in partnership between the town and DOW. The lake was acquired by the DOW when the state used federal funds to buy a significant amount of land on the lower slopes of Basalt Mountain for a wildlife refuge.

Tucker said he would like to keep the shore picked up better, improve the fishing accessibility, remove the decrepit bathrooms and build a boardwalk around the lake.

The first of the work will start this fall or next spring, depending on the funding, he said. However, it would take years to complete Tucker’s wish list. He is interested in working on a longer-term “master plan” with the town of Basalt.

Basalt Mayor Rick Stevens said he welcomed the town’s interest in improving the lake’s amenities. He said he always believed Lake Christine would be an ideal spot for a nature center.

The concept would make Lake Christine similar to Hallam Lake, where the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies runs its renowned nature center.

Stevens encouraged the DOW to start work as soon as possible on the master plan, which would give people something they could count on for improvements.

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