Plans moving forward for recreation at Rueter-Hess Reservoir in Douglas County

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. - Rueter-Hess Reservoir is used as a source of drinking water for the town of Parker, parts of Lone Tree and the city of Castle Pines.

But the Parker Water and Sanitation District has always had bigger plans -- recreation use. 

The master planning process for recreation began in November of 2015. There was an initial online survey and nearly 4,000 responses from the public. Phase two of the project included developing the concept for public feedback. There were three open houses and an additional online survey.

Parker Water and Sanitation states on its website, "the goal of the master plan is to develop a range of recreational opportunities in and around the reservoir, while safeguarding the quality of water in the reservoir and preserving the natural environment of the site."

Click here to look at the final concept map.

The plan has 17 miles of trails including one that loops around the whole reservoir. There are also plans for a sledding hill and an incline challenge for hikers. There's even the possibility of an archery range.

Motorized boats won't be allowed in an effort to not contaminate the water.

"We actually pump 99 percent of the water in from Cherry Creek,' said Ron Redd with Parker Water & Sanitation. "It doesn't leave. It goes to our water treatment plant and then is used for drinking water."

In August, 2015 when recreational plans were just being put in place, the reservoir was 90 feet deep. It is much deeper now. The front gates are still closed to the public.

Susan Saint Vincent with Parker Water and Sanitation said phase three of the process is now in effect. This phase focuses on the business plan including budgets, management and staffing.

Redd tells our partners at The Denver Post that trails would most likely open first because it would take the least amount of staff to maintain.

The reservoir could finally open to the public by 2017.

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