On the first morning of 2018, 50 area residents (and five dogs) hiked three miles around Sweitzer Lake State Park near Delta. It was the largest group ever to turn out for the activity. The hike, led by Ranger Scott Rist from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), was one of hundreds of "First Day Hikes" held nation-wide on Jan. 1 to encourage people to get outdoors and experience their state parks. Rist provided interpretive information regarding the history of Sweitzer Lake and the habits of area wildlife. He serves as senior ranger for the Colorado state parks located at Sweitzer Lake, Crawford, and Paonia.
The Jan. 1 hike was sponsored by CPW and Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO), an organization which invests a portion of Colorado lottery proceeds into preserving and enhancing state parks and other state recreational sites.
Sweitzer Lake is a popular summer destination for swimmers and boaters. Fishing is available for warm water species and waterfowl hunting is allowed in season. Sweitzer is one of 41 state parks administered by CPW.
A surprising number of Colorado residents have never visited a state park. The parks are located statewide and each one offers unique views and amenities. The parks range in size from the 48-acre Rifle Falls State Park in Garfield County to the Golden Gate Canyon State Park that spans nearly 12,000 acres near Denver.
Delta County residents are fortunate to have three state parks in close proximity. Sweitzer Lake State Park is three miles south of Delta just off Highway 50. Crawford State Park is located adjacent to Crawford Reservoir, 1 1⁄2 miles south of the town of Crawford on Highway 92. Paonia State Park is 17 miles east of the town of Paonia on Highway 133. Crawford and Sweitzer are open year round. Paonia is open seasonally. State parks are fee areas costing $7 per visit. An annual pass costing $70 admits the purchaser to all state parks. Annual passes may be purchased at the Crawford site. Call 970-921-5721 for operating hours.