Vega State Park History
The area where Vega State Park is now located was once the swampy shore of an inland sea. During the Paleozoic time it was filled with sea creatures, most predominately giant sea turtles whose remains can still occasionally be found today.
The first permanent settlers came into the area now known as Vega State Park in the fall of 1881 following removal of the Ute Indians onto reservations in eastern Utah. Prior to that time the park was visited in 1776 by the Spanish explorers Dominguez and Escalante as they searched for a more direct route to California. They named the area Las Vegas or The Meadows.
By 1885 most of the fertile soil of the Meadows had been homesteaded. Twenty-five families were living there year round with both dairy herds and beef cattle being raised. A post office, cemetery, and school were soon started, as were two sawmills.
Most of the original settlers had moved away by 1924 leaving fewer than a dozen families many of whom had no school age children. In 1936 the school was finally closed.
In 1957, the need for increased water storage for irrigation in Plateau Valley brought about the construction of Vega Reservoir by the Bureau of Reclamation. The 900 surface acre lake, part of the Collbran Project, was completed by June of 1962. Vega gets its water from a feeder canal off Park and Leon Creeks in addition to direct flow from the headwaters of Plateau Creek.
In 1967, the Bureau of Reclamation struck an agreement with the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation to have the area managed as a state recreation area. In addition to the reservoir, 925 acres of upland are now managed by Colorado State Parks providing recreational activities, open space, and wildlife habitat.