EDITORIAL: Canyon Lake dam repair vital

2013-01-22T07:30:00Z EDITORIAL: Canyon Lake dam repair vitalJournal editorial board Rapid City Journal
January 22, 2013 7:30 am  • 

Canyon Lake Park is the is the post card photo of Rapid City's system of parks, bike paths and golf courses through the greenway. On most days, especially during the summer, the park is filled with people enjoying its beautiful setting.

The park has been extensively renovated in recent years, using $2.2 million in Vision Funds to build the island and bridge and adding more picnic and viewing areas.

However, the dam that holds the water in Canyon Lake is about 40 years old and in need of reconstruction. Repairs to stop leaks from the lake are temporary fixes, and the City Council has approved about $3.5 million in Vision Funds to reconstruct Canyon Lake dam to stop the seepage and prevent a failure of the dam itself.

Last year, the city rejected bids for the reconstruction project when they came in as high as $4.2 million.

Public Works Director Terry Wolterstorff told the city council that the dam is in urgent need of reconstruction or it could leak out all the water. A failure similar to what happened in the 1972 flood is not an immediate concern, he said.

The city council's Public Works Committee voted last week to open bids for the dam reconstruction project again, and members advocated finding other funding sources if the $3.5 million in Vision Funds isn't enough.

After spending millions of dollars to renovate Canyon Lake Park and make it the signature park in Rapid City's park system, it would be a shame to see the lake drained because of a leaking dam. We agree with the Public Works Committee that the dam reconstruction project needs to go forward as soon as possible.

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(1) Comments

  1. Report Abuse
    - January 22, 2013 7:21 pm
    I'm a heavy user of Canyon Lake.

    I can say that last summer, toward the end, was miserable. I can walk from the boat dock out to the island point that's nearest the chophouse and I won't get wet over my shins. Many canoes drag bottom there, it's so silted in and full of duck and goose poo.

    The same thing exists from the boat dock to the bridge to the island, in a half circle to in front of the chophouse. It's badly badly silted in there. Then, just beyond that, the weeds got very thick on both sides, so the paddle boats, Kayaks, (like mine) or canoes could just barely make it through the weeds, (the odor was very "colorful" that that point as well).

    The dam has been undercut, water was going under it as well as through the middle of it until massive amounts of bentonite clay were dumped in to seal it temporarily. This made quite a mess of it's on in the process, though I admit it needed to be done at the time to prevent dam failure.

    The scouts use this for canoe training, many tourists visit it, and due to lack of proper attention, it's suffering now. The dam NEEDS attention, (it won't get any better with age), and the west side needs to be dredged, (or if the dam gets replaced, let it dry out and bull doze it out, or, perhaps give the topsoil free to Jolly Lane to sell as topsoil if they doze it for the common good, it's half ooze and half goose poo, so it should be good for gardens).

    I can say if given no attention for another year, I bet the west end silts in so bad not even the paddle boats can make it through anymore by mid summer...

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