Lakes and reservoirs offer flatwater recreation opportunities in the Gunnison Basin. Some of the gems include:
- Blue Mesa Reservoir, the largest body of water in Colorado, in the Curecanti National Recreation Area.
- Taylor Park Reservoir, near the Continental Divide.
- Crawford Reservoir, near the North Rim of the Black Canyon.
- The many small lakes and reservoirs on the Grand Mesa.
Colorado Boating Registration information can be found here. Colorado does not require a boating license, but it does require a Boating Safety Certificate. Additional fees or permits may be required for boating on specific reservoirs or bodies of water.
Invasive Species: The Quagga & Zebra Mussels
Depending on your location and your craft, a watercraft inspection may be necessary. The Quagga & Zebra mussels are invasive species that are an ecological and financial threat bodies of water. Colorado is lucky in that, as of now, it does not have any contaminated bodies of water. The Great Lakes has served as an example of the financial and environmental chaos these mussels can bring.
Reservoirs and boat launch sites have inspection sites where mandatory, but free, boat inspections are required for certain craft. In 2018, the fine for knowingly introducing these invasive species was raised to $500 from $150, and the fine for unlawful boat launches without inspection was doubled. The National Park Service at Curecanti has additional information on zebra and quagga mussels, and they also provide statewide information and specific information to their areas on boat regulations and inspections. Colorado Parks and Wildlife also has useful information on rules, regulations, and inspections. The authoritative Colorado Parks and Wildlife pamphlet is the go-to resource for ensuring that you follow best practices and regulations out on the water and with your vessel!