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City trying to make Union Reservoir name official

Panel to decide in November
Union Reservoir (photo by Macie May)

A bid to officially anchor the Union Reservoir name on every federal map has been put on hold for another month.

The state’s Geographic Naming Advisory Board on Thursday tabled a recommendation to make Union Reservoir an official designation until November, said Ken Huson, the city of Longmont’s water resource manager, via email.

The advisory board has been asked by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to erase confusion about the name of the reservoir — located east of Longmont — since some maps refer to it as Calkins Lake, Huson said.

The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board was established by Gov. Jared Polis to evaluate proposals concerning name changes, new names and name controversies of geographic features and certain public places in the state. The advisory board then makes official recommendations to Polis, according to the advisory board’s website.

Huson wrote to a contractor on the staff for the federal naming board in February, saying the city of Longmont and the Union Reservoir Company encouraged the display of the reservoir on federal mapping to indicate the name of Union Reservoir.

The original name for Union Reservoir was Calkins Lake, named for the original Longmont city engineer, Huson said in his letter. The lake was a small natural depression that collected water and served as a buffalo wallow, Huson said. 

In 1902, the Union Ditch Company  — located near LaSalle — came to this area to build a reservoir for additional water supply. The following year, the company built the reservoir, covering a much larger area, and named it Union Reservoir, Huson’s letter said.

Union Reservoir is the official water right name for the reservoir with the state of Colorado, Huson said. 

“In addition, the general public in this area knows this facility to be Union Reservoir,” Huson said. “As such, both the city of Longmont and the Union Reservoir Company believe this facility should be officially named Union Reservoir with the USGS (United States Geological Survey).”


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