When Lake Nighthorse made its debut, the city emphatically said that motorized boats would not be allowed until May. Yet the photo commemorating Opening Day showed this boat clearly cruising along with a trolling motor. What’s the deal? Was this our notoriously permissive city turning a blind eye? Or did they arrest the scofflaw, confiscate the boat and fine everyone aboard? Sign me, Flying the Jolly Roger
Shiver me timbers! Thar be scurvy dogs plyin’ the bays above Bodo Park? G’arrrrr!
Permit ye capt’n to hold a ship’s inquest for the scallywags and picaroons who dare mutiny.
Avast, me hearties. The Court of Long John Action Line be in session.
Who bears witness to landlubbers that be motorin’ where’n they ought not?
Aye, it’s her honor Cathy Metz, admiral of the Lake Nighthorse.
Cathy be the director of Durango P-arrrr-ks and Recreation, the high masters o’ the high southern seas.
OK, let’s scupper the pirate parlance.
Plus, International Talk Like A Pirate Day is in five months and two days. You can look that up at talklikeapirate.com.
In any case, we asked Cathy about the incident in which someone put the “naughty” in nautical.
“We made it very clear that motors on Lake Nighthorse are not allowed until May 15,” Cathy said. “But an Opening Day recreationist didn’t think that applied to a trolling motor.”
When officials spotted the boat waves, however small, the Lake Nighthorse armada set sail and intercepted the rapscallion.
By armada, we mean a Bureau of Reclamation boat.
The transgressing troller was informed of the rules and was told to stow the motor.
“We didn’t confiscate the boat or anything like that,” Cathy said with a chuckle.
Action Line was stunned. “What? No walking the plank? No keelhauling? What about flogging with a cat-o-nine-tails?”
But the egregious egress wasn’t without penalty.
“The boater had to manually paddle back to the dock,” Cathy said. “That was probably punishment enough.”
HHHThe weeds in Pastorius Reservoir choke the lake in summer. I’m sure the fish need a place to hide, but I worry they won’t be able to find their way home because of dense weeds. Paddle boarders, canoes, kayaks, etc. have a hard time getting around. I also see a lot of tangled fishing lines. Is there a way to remove or reduce lake weeds? Does BLM recognize this as a problem, and if so, what will they do? – Tangled at Pastorius
First, we need the correct alphabet soup. The lake isn’t administered by the federal BLM. It’s overseen by the state CPW. That a BFD.
So PDQ, we called our good friend Joe Lewandowski, keen public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Pastorius is a state wildlife area, Joe said. So the 92-acre facility has multiple uses, including recreation, fishing and waterfowl hunting.
In addition, the reservoir is in an agricultural setting, so water levels will fluctuate during irrigation season.
“It’s a shallow lake,” Joe said, pointing out that the average depth is 7 feet. “So weeds will grow more vigorously in summer. It’s just the nature of the place.”
“Thus we keep it natural, and aquatic plants are part of that,” he said.
Perhaps Lake Nighthorse would be more pastoral for Pastorius pastimes.
“As for the fish, there’s no need to worry,” Joe assured. “It’s not like ‘Finding Nemo.’ To butcher a phrase, the fish can see the forage for the weeds.”
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can ask for anonymity if you think the recreation at Nighthorse or Pastorius is the best by a dam site.