Most mornings, for a few hours or so, lakes across the state sleep in. Their waves stay at ease and gusts of wind come to a halt as the light begins to shine through the water.
For those willing to beat the particular rays, it’s a piece of paradise at Standley Lake. The sun shines through splashing water droplets as small shells filled with early risers break glass-like still water with their gliding efforts.
It’s best to act before sunrise, they say. Soldiers ride at dawn, paper boys aim for mailboxes while street lights guide their throw and truckers start their engines with a layer of dew nevertheless covering their windshields.
And rowers attach their oars as the sun’s beams land for the first time since the day prior to.
You snooze, you lose.
“Six in typically the morning, there’s snow on the mountains, pelicans and eagles flying overhead and you are working harder than you have ever worked in your life but you’re making no noise. It’s fantastic, serene and marvelous, ” said Katja Stokley, one of those rowers in the boat.
Stokely appreciates the environmental beauty every time she rows. Westminster banned motorized watercraft in 2019. After about three years of no motorized boats on the water, the wildlife came back, Stokley said. Forests of aquatic plants can be seen with Coots, Ospreys, Pelicans and Eagles meandering around within the quiet place.
Not only the environment, but Stokley appreciates the ability in order to do her sport. She’s an athlete who uses a wheelchair and got hooked on rowing this first time she learned how.
She has part of a group of rowers who formed PEAK Rowing, which is the rowing club that offers adaptive rowing for veterans and people with disabilities. Standley Lake invited them to check out often the space, and they were thrilled.
“Standley Lake is wheelchair accessible and will be willing to make things more wheelchair accessible, plus the fact that there are no powered watercraft at Standley creating wakes, ” Stokley said.
That creates the ideal location with regard to the group. Stokley explained since rowing shells are very long and thin, they are susceptible to side wakes, which can potentially crack your thin craft.
Lisa McMath, a member of PEAK Rowing, said there are less than 60 adaptive rowing clubs in the country. In the region, there were none, until PEAK Rowing.
McMath explained that while there are other rowing clubs nearby, their own waiting lists for Learn to Row programs are very long, and are usually unable to accommodate adaptive rowing exercise machines who require a little more help.
But even if the lists were shorter, the presence of motorboats makes it much too dangerous.
It’s quieter too. The powered boats don’t just trigger bigger waves, their particular noisy engines may trigger veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Standley Lake proves special in that aspect, something some other bodies of water in Colorado don’t. Cherry Creek Reservoir in addition to other areas host many rowers and rowing clubs, but motor boats and even jet skiers also take up the space. Union Reservoir allows tailored boats and maintains a no-wake rule, but not everyone follows that rule.
“I don’t want to demonize the exact motorboat people, but it’s just like how cars and bikes don’t coexist, ” Stokley said.
Another problem? Those other bodies associated with water don’t have low enough docks for people with limited mobility to enter the boat.
“We recognize that this would be a fantastic venue for (motorboats) and it would be, ” she said. “For us, it’s not like you can pick and choose from your six rowing night clubs, all of which have this wonderful, no-wake situation. There usually are lots of places regarding people with trailer boats to go, and there are not lots of places for us to”
While the motorboats have been taken off the water, Standley Lake has attracted more paddleboards, kayaks, canoers together with other paddle-powered craft, according to McMath.
“It’s good for water quality, no noise pollution, no air pollution. And it can a really low-impact activity to have in this nature preserve, ” the girl said.
Romans Warrior Foundation
Gene Campbell provides recreational therapy sessions to veterans, first responders and families regarding those. He said engaging in the outdoors is a proven therapeutic method to help with PTSD, anxiety and depression.
His main difficulty: finding a safe body of water.
“Colorado waters are absolutely overrun, ” he said.
He found a new “diamond in the rough” at Standley Lake.
“It truly maximizes the efficiency of recreational therapy. This is an area where they do not have to be concerned with overcrowded people in it, ” he stated.
Campbell explained Standley Lake isn’t big enough to handle more than four boats at a time in the first place, he mentioned. Adding in fish rafts, paddleboards and kayaks spell trouble.
“In a perfect world, everybody would be boating safely. But recreational boating in general tends to have folks not paying attention, ” he said.
The Romans Warrior Foundation is available intended for veterans, first responders and additionally their families and will be free. The objective is to connect paddlers with each other so they know they aren’t alone in the challenges these people face.
Standley Lake is perfect, he said, because involving the lack of noise and the ability to be able to put a beginner upon the water without fear of a wave tipping their paddleboard, kayak or even canoe.
With the wildlife refuge close by with hiking trails, it provides an outlet to get mental illness. Campbell has seen participants improve firsthand. Putting them in some sort of peaceful environment puts the particular focus on them.
While he understands why boaters want to come back to the lake, he thinks the lake is in an unique situation as it stands now.
“You go there and you don’t feel like you’re sitting in the middle of Westminster. The particular noise quiets down, not to mention there are bald eagles nesting in the area. It’s beautiful, ” this individual said.
Standley Lake boating, rowing, PEAK rowing, veterans, romans warrior foundation