The city council by a 3-1 vote decided to renew a lease for the Timberline Fish and Wildlife Conservation Association, known as the Timberline Fishing Club of Colorado Springs, for a 10-year period during a recent meeting. The vote wasn’t surprising as several elected leaders are active members of the club that plays a role in maintaining the two Gillett reservoirs that serve as the main water source for the city. Club members also get a chance to fish at the lakes and partake in certain recreation and social activities.
In turn, the club offers close to half of its membership to Cripple Creek residents. The club also pays the city an annual rental fee of $13,000.
Club representative Steve Ward cited the long-term relationship between the city and the Timberline group during a presentation before the council on July 6. “There hasn’t been a problem. We have had members that have been there since its inception,” said Ward.
The club requested a 10-year lease, instead of a shorter period. “It gives us more stability,” said Ward.
Councilman Milford Ashworth cast the dissenting tally. He said he supported the club, but objected to this length of a lease.
Ashworth expressed concerns about tying the hands of a future council if a problem did arise. Ashworth proposed a five-year arrangement, with an automatic extension if no problems occurred.
But Ward told the council they had the option to terminate the agreement or to meet with the council to discuss issues of concern.
Several club members also spoke in favor of the longer lease agreement. They maintained that it would benefit both the city and the club.
Plus, club members noted that their group does it part in maintaining, preserving and cleaning up the reservoir area. In essence, they described their role as acting as mini-trouble-shooters in the reservoir area. The club also has stringent rules against using motorized boats and abiding by certain recreational guidelines.
More recently, the club was involved somewhat in opposition to a proposed Ring the Peak trail route that civic leaders feared would threaten the reservoirs. Both city officials from Cripple Creek and Victor, along with fishing buffs in the region, have proposed alternate routes that don’t interfere with reservoir activities.
Mayor Bruce Brown agreed with the club representatives. He said he felt comfortable with the termination clause in the agreement. Councilman Tom Litherland echoed similar sentiments and cited the long-term relationship between the city and the fishing club.