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Chatfield Reopens But Still Messy: 'It Does Smell'

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- More areas of Chatfield Reservoir have reopened for the 4th of July holiday weekend but people who want to spend time there will have to deal with some unwanted obstacles.

Last month weeks of heavy rain and rapid snowmelt caused water levels to rise, closing the swim beach and many recreation areas at the state park.

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High water at Chatfield on May 21 (credit: CBS)

Now some of that water has receded, allowing people access to more areas of the park. But not everything is back to normal. Rising water pushed a lot of dirt and mud onto the hillsides where grass typically grows.

Paddle boarders can take trips where no one has paddle boarded before- like above a parking lot. Ducks continue to swim near the bathrooms at the closed swim beach. The water is still about 150 yards inland.

"The water is receding but it's probably not a good place to go swimming at this point," said paddle boater Holly Corry.

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Chatfield Reservoir (credit: CBS)

State Parks employees spent Friday morning cleaning up some of the debris that washed ashore.

"It does smell, yeah. You can see the residue from the water going down and all the plant material, so yeah, it does stink a little bit," said Corry.

The debris can also cause some issues for boaters.

"It can be dangerous out here a little bit," said boater Seth Ingenthrone, "A lot of debris is getting pushed into the lake."

Access to the boat ramp is still limited, only one of two docks is available at the North Ramp. The South Ramp remains closed.

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Chatfield Reservoir (credit: CBS)

"Not crowded, we have the whole lake to ourselves which is very surprising," said boater Keno Cordova.

The high water levels have been good for fishermen, "As far as how it impacts the fishing, it makes it more accessible for us, especially the shore fisherman."

There are still a number of picnic areas that remain closed at Chatfield Reservoir.

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