[Editor's note: this news release was issued by Colorado Parks & Wildlife. We are posting it here because the Albuquerque District operates & maintains John Martin Reservoir and Dam. Please note that the area referred to below is private property and outside of the Corps of Engineers managed area.]
HASTY, Colo. – Restrictions on public access to the railroad trestle bridge in the John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area will be strictly enforced after a recent near-tragedy involving a passenger train and two anglers.
Effective immediately, the public is barred from any access to the railroad trestle bridge by the BNSF Railway Police. Fencing is being rebuilt and new signs are being erected on the boundary of the railway’s private right-of-way, a narrow strip of land surrounding the tracks, which run along the south side of the reservoir.
The BNSF decision comes after an incident June 8 when two men were walking on the railroad track over the trestle bridge as an Amtrak train approached, traveling at about 80 mph.
One man jumped off the bridge, into the water. The other man was hit by the train and sustained serious, but not life-threatening injuries.
BNSF informed Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which manages the 19,471-acre wildlife area and adjacent John Martin Reservoir State Park, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the wildlife area and reservoir, that railway property is not open for public recreation in any way.
This effectively means no more fishing from the trestle or any of the railway property. The closure includes prohibiting access to the tracks, on the rock surrounding the tracks, or on the concrete slabs near the water. Boats will still be allowed to pass under the trestle, but they are not allowed to land on BNSF property.
BNSF noted the tracks, trestle and surroundings have always been private railway property and never open for public access.
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.