For boaters on Standley Lake, it was a place for family and community gathering.
“It was like going to your family if you had a private lake, ” Gary Gambino, a former boater on the river.
Many members of Standley Lake’s boating community saw the huge aspect of their community taken away with the ban of trailered boats in 2019. Gambino used to work a graveyard shift and after, went straight to the lake.
“I would come home, hook up my boat, go out onto Standley, take it out in the back bay anchor in and take my four hours of sleep, ” he said.
He saw the boating community as a family unit. Everyone was willing to help each other and got to know each other very well.
His son, Vincent Gambino, grew up in Arvada and had many boating friends. They used to bring their boats and camp in the park.
Gary Gambino said the community promoted camaraderie and was important for kids growing up in the area. It taught them respect and provided a learning opportunity on multiple fronts, including safety.
Having it taken away was “horrendous. ”
Mike Bakarich bought the boat that cost more than $50, 000 for the lake just before this was outlawed. His parents learned to water ski on the lake, then he grew up learning how to water ski around the lake and wanted to pass it down in order to his kids. Now, that’s not possible.
“It’s just a huge resource that was taken out of Jefferson County, ” he said.
Bakarich drives to Boulder but it proves tough with three kids. He said Colorado has limited lakes and saw Standley Lake as a hidden gem for boating.
“I can’t say that was the wrong decision for the city and the parties involved, but I will say that it does hurt, ” Bakarich said.
For Lee Merritt, the particular loss of boating at the lake meant moving north to Lone Tree reservoir and talks associated with divorce.
“It put our family through a lot of strain, a lot of stress. Talks of divorce here and there plus you look back upon it, and it all started with Standley Lake closing. If it hadn’t closed we would have just stayed in our house. We were very happy where we were. I think our entire life would be different, ” he said.
Merritt sat on the committee that tried to come up along with a solution to maintain water quality while still allowing boats in 2019.
“I kind of feel like the committee that we were on was put in place as kind of a dog and pony show and just to type of buy time until they redid the IGA, ” he said.
He hoped a solution could be struck that satisfied both parties, but an Intergovernmental Agreement has ultimately signed that banned trailered boats on the lake.
Merritt stated that some who are disappointed with the outcome may start purposely throwing the Zebra Mussels into the lake.
“Those people could now purposely go get the Zebra Mussels and place them into the lake, ” he said. “I’m sure people have tried to put mussels in that river since they took the boat off. ”
“Northglenn’s water within Standley Lake is irreplaceable, valued at more than $209 million dollars. There is no level of risk that our community is willing to accept when it comes to protecting our drinking water supply, ” the letter reads.