Concern about overcrowding at Utah reservoirs, leaders promise more space

Jul 20, 2020, 10:16 AM
drowning Pineview Reservoir...
Photo credit: Shutterstock

OGDEN, Utah — Officials in the Ogden Valley say additional parking is coming to a pair of popular reservoirs in the area.

Racing to the reservoirs

All over Utah, huge crowds of people are visiting reservoirs this summer. A weekend trip to recreate on the water isn’t anything new, but the coronavirus pandemic has severely shortened the list of possible options. For many families, driving to Jordanelle or Pineview Reservoirs is as good as it gets right now.

In the Ogden Valley, Pineview Reservoir has been perhaps the most popular.

“We’re loving Pineview to death,” explained Utah Rep. Steve Waldrip, R-Eden. He says he is getting plenty of feedback on the issue from locals.

He says officials have decided to open a new parking area at Middle Inlet, which is a beach area north of Huntsville.

“Using it to death”

A few miles to the east, there’s a similar issue.

“We’ve got the same problem at Causey [Reservoir],” Weber County Commissioner Scott Jenkins told the Standard-Examiner. “They’re just using it to death.”

Those from the area say this isn’t just a busy summer, but rather a historic one.

“We’ve never seen numbers like this and it’s due to COVID,” says Sean Harwood, head of the U.S. Forest Service‘s Ogden Ranger District. “There just isn’t anything else to do.”

For a short-term fix, a new dirt parking area is taking shape in an open area south of the dam. Officials say that will have enough space for around 40 additional vehicles.

“All we’re doing is removing the vegetation so we can park in there,” Harwood said. “There’s not going to be any lines, there’s not going to be any barriers or anything.”

Local leaders say the increase in traffic is a great way to showcase their part of the state, but safety will always be the top priority.

“The Ogden Valley area is a beloved gem of this state,” said Weber County Commissioner Gage Froerer. “The Weber County Commission’s priority is making sure the area is loved appropriately and has the tools it needs to facilitate its inevitable popularity.”

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Concern about overcrowding at Utah reservoirs, leaders promise more space