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Sweetwater Lake is where current and future generations of Americans can recreate, connect with the natural environment, appreciate the cultural and natural history, and experience the freedom from the developed world like their grandparents may have 50 years ago; connecting with our western heritage. Here partnerships are paramount to deliver public benefits. Sweetwater Lake provides cultural, historic and social value to local communities.


Three overarching goals exist for the public acquisition and reopening of the property to the public:

  1. Improve access, modernize facilities, and provide updated and sustainable recreational services that are appropriate to the environment, desired by the public and keeping within the character of the area. 
  2. Retain and protect the natural and social characteristics of the area.  
  3. Incorporate public input while honoring the historical legacy of this special place during the planning process.   

Improve access, modernize facilities, and provide updated and sustainable recreational services that are appropriate to the environment and keeping within the character of the area.

  • Create a new master plan for the entire Lake area with a focus on facilities needed and appropriately sited to meet recreation, wildlife, historic, financial and visual objectives.
  • Over time, transition out of, remove, improve and/or replace existing infrastructure as feasible.
  • Define recreational opportunities that will be provided for that could include; cabin rentals, camping, day use, fishing, non-motorized boating, boat rentals, food service, horseback riding.
  • Consider visitor capacity in master planning.
  • Encourage year-round recreational use to the extent practical.
  • Include in the master plan decisions how to fully utilize the water rights being acquired by the Forest Service in the purchase as well as those on adjacent NFS lands.

Retain and protect the natural and social character of the area.  

  • Incorporate wildlife, scenery and social values into visually sensitive designs for the entire project area and all facilities to the extent practical.
  • Manage the southern and western Lake shores primarily for retention of wildlife habitat.
  • Evaluate whether to retain the pasture to the west of the Lake.
  • Define recreation opportunities, related settings and desired experiences that the project area will be managed for.
  • Consider adjacent USFS management direction and private property.
  • Provide interpretation and education goals regarding natural resources and stewardship

Incorporate public input while honoring the historical legacy of this special place during the planning process.   

  • Conduct public planning process in collaboration with interested parties, private land owners and adjacent communities.
  • Work with the Ute Tribes on a plan that honors their historical use of the area and specifically on a management strategy for the cave.
  • Make needed repairs to the CCC cabin and incorporate its active use into the overall strategy for the site.

The Sweetwater Lake Vision Statement was created by The White River National Forest, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and the Eagle Valley Land Trust.