Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host two public meetings to discuss changes at John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area.

The first is scheduled 6 p.m. Monday at the CPW office in Lamar, 2500 S. Main St. (enter through the south doors).

The second is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the La Junta Senior Center, 114 E. 2nd St.

CPW manages the 19,471-acre wildlife area (SWA) for the Corps. The SWA surrounds the reservoir west of the state park. It’s a popular destination for hunting, fishing, boating, camping and wildlife viewing.

CPW has been working with the Corps on a new operating agreement at the SWA after its old license expired in 2018. The wildlife area will continue to operate under that agreement until a new one is in place.

As part of the licensing process, the Corps has identified areas where it wants a higher level of protection based on unique wildlife habitats or areas of cultural concern. These "Environmental Sensitive Areas" (ESA) will require CPW to more closely manage public access and impacts.

In addition, the Corps wants CPW to change its management strategy in areas that receive higher-than-normal public use.

For example, the south shore is very popular for fishing, camping and other outdoor recreation. Currently, this area is managed as a “dispersed camping area” with no facilities. Under new Corps requirements, camping will be restricted to designated areas and CPW will be required to provide some basic facilities such as portable toilets and trash service.

Also, ESAs will be closed to vehicle use to protect those habitats and signs will be posted. Roads will be improved and marked for travel and two designated camping areas will be cleared of vegetation and marked for use.

“We believe the changes will better protect the resources and limit public impacts to a high use recreation area,” said Travis Black, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager in Lamar. “We want to let the public know of the proposed changes to the license and assure them we will maintain public access for the intended purposes of hunting, fishing and watchable wildlife."

Lamar meeting

WHAT: Public meeting to discuss future of John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area

WHEN: 6 p.m., Monday

WHERE: CPW office, 2500 S. Main St., Lamar (enter through south doors)


La Junta meeting

WHAT: Public meeting to discuss future of John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area

WHEN: 6 p.m., Tuesday

WHERE: La Junta Senior Center, 114 E. 2nd St., La Junta