Navajo park to celebrate 50th

ARBOLES – This year marks the 50th anniversary of Southwest Colorado’s Navajo State Park, and the public is invited to visit the park Saturday for activities and programs to commemorate the opening. A special ceremony will be held at noon.

The dam was constructed as part of the Colorado River Storage Project, which also includes the Aspinall Unit on the Gunnison River which formed Blue Mesa Reservoir, Flaming Gorge Dam in Wyoming on the Green River and Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. The system supplies water for agriculture, industrial, municipal and recreational uses.

Navajo Lake, which is a reservoir, provides the principal storage for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project, which sends water to 110,000 acres of agricultural land on the Navajo Reservation.

Anyone who participated in the construction or planning of the Navajo dam project or the park is asked to contact Janet Clawson, park naturalist, who is collecting historical information. She also would like to hear from people who lived in the area at the time and remember development of the project and from long-time visitors to the park. Clawson is also trying to find old pictures of the area. Email her at janet.clawson@state.co.us; or call the park at 883-2208.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation completed the Navajo Dam in New Mexico in 1962, with the state park facilities opening two years later. Navajo Lake has a surface area of 15,600 acres, with about 3,000 acres on Colorado’s side.

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