Barr Lake State Park in Brighton___________________________________________________________________________
With a large prairie reservoir--about 3 square miles of beautiful water--at the heart of the park, the Barr Lake Eagle Express tour winds through cottonwoods and marshes past aquatic plants and wildlife habitat. Visitors come to picnic, boat, fish, hunt waterfowl, hike, bicycle, cross-country ski, ride horses, watch birds, and study nature. An 8.8-mile trail follows the perimeter of the lake. Shorter trails are also available, including the Neidrach Nature Trail, the Crest Trail, and Prairie Welcome Trail. With the exception of the official motorized tour, vehicles are not permitted into the refuge.
People have sought out the area for recreation for over a century. At the end of the 1800s, sportsmen from Denver touted Barr Lake as the "finest fishing area in the west." However, as city waste water began polluting the waters, it took clean-water legislation and the big flood of the 1960s to purify the waters once again, recreating a beautiful retreat near the city.
Today, the Colorado Division of Wildlife stocks the lake with several varieties of fish, including channel catfish, small- and large-mouth bass, rainbow trout, walleye, bluegill, wiper, and tiger Muskie. Sailboats, canoes and kayaks, and boats with small motors are permitted on the north half of the lake. Swimming, wading and diving are prohibited.
The southern half of Barr Lake State Park has been officially designated as a wildlife refuge unequaled elsewhere in Colorado as it shelters animals and birds. Paralleling the elite outings of sportsmen, the area has also been a reputed bird-watching destination for over a century. Sightings of approximately 350 species of birds, including rare Front Range eagle habitat, have drawn national and international attention over the decades. The park serves as the headquarters for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services have constructed the Nature Center and park boardwalks accessible via the south parking where park rangers and naturalists offer interpretive programs and guided walks through this small paradise. Nature enthusiasts are therefore afforded a unique opportunity to observe wildlife such as coyote, deer, white pelicans, great blue heron, cormorants, egrets, ducks, grebes, owls, and hawks.
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