During February, the Parker Sanitation and Water District held three open houses in Douglas County to collect feedback on the proposal to use the Rueter-Hess Reservoir for open recreational purposes. This plan comes just months after an online survey of the proposal gathered nearly 4,000 responses.

The reservoir, located a few miles southwest of Parker, is 75,000 acres in volume, and supplies drinking water to over 50,000 customers in the Parker area. Since its construction in 2011, residents have been looking forward to the opportunity to swim and actively take part in recreational activities in the Rueter-Hess Reservoir.

The district and architecture firm, Wenk Associates will present alternative plans this month for potential activities to be allowed on and around the reservoir. Interested parties are invited to attend one of three open houses to learn more about future plans and offer a response to officials, who will draft an official recreation master plan later in 2016.

Because it is a drinking water reservoir, water quality concerns have already led officials to rule out the use of motorboats and other motorized water vehicles at Rueter-Hess Reservoir. Similar issues could raise concern about a swim beach environment, yet officials have noted that large-scale events like triathlons could be held from time-to-time. According to the initial online survey, residents are most interested in hiking, swimming, fishing and canoeing.

The first open house is set to be held at Parker Town Hall, between 5 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17. The second will be at the Lone Tree Recreation Center, from 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 20. The third is set for the Castle Rock Recreation Center, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 27.

Douglas County residents are encouraged to attend one or more of these open houses. There are a lot of open water recreation opportunities at the Rueter-Hess Reservoir. To propose open recreation, county officials need to know that people want it.