City considers entrance fee at Farmington Lake

Parks and recreation director Cory Styron said the proposed fee would be comparable to entrance fees at nearby state parks

Hannah Grover
Elizabeth Howerton and her grandfather Curtis Howerton enjoy a day fishing on Monday at Farmington Lake.

FARMINGTON — Adding a fee to Farmington Lake may help the city pay for operations at the popular destination.

City Council will hear a presentation about the proposed fee structure during a work session at 9 a.m. Tuesday  at Farmington City Hall, 800 N. Municipal Dr. The council could vote on whether to charge a fee.

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs director Cory Styron said the council will decide on the rates, however he said the rate will be per vehicle and will be comparable to state parks in the region. He said the PRCA has proposed a $5 fee.

"It's an opportunity for the users to contribute to the operations of an amenity they enjoy," he said.

The money raised will go to pay for operating costs at the lake and any extra revenue would be used to make improvements at the lake. Styron said this will help the city by taking some of the strain off of the general fund.

Farmington Lake opened to swimming last year during the summer. When the lake's swimming area opened, the city began to keep track of the cars. During the summer last year, about 40,000 vehicles went to the lake, according to city documents.

Curtis Howerton and his granddaughter, Elizabeth Howerton, 6, were at the lake today  fishing. Howerton said he has been fishing at the lake and on the San Juan River below the Navajo dam for the past two decades. While he did not have the chance to take his grandchildren to the swimming area at the lake over the summer, he said he thinks the beach is a fantastic addition.

Elizabeth Howerton enjoys a snack while fishing with her grandfather Curtis Howerton, on Monday at Farmington Lake.

Howerton said he doesn't think there should be a fee because it could discourage people from going to the lake. While the fee would discourage him, he said he would continue to use it because it is more convenient than driving out to the San Juan River below the dam. Navajo Lake State Park also has a $5 entrance fee, which Howerton pays when he fishes there.

As they fished, Elizabeth watched the coots on the lake and played with Howerton's dog, Frank.

"Whether we catch anything or not, it doesn't matter," Howerton said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

Farmington Lake as seen on Monday.