RECREATION

Utah lakes and reservoirs at low levels for July 4 holiday weekend

Jul 1, 2021, 8:37 PM
Utah lakes and reservoirs...
Low water levels are pictured in Echo Reservoir north of Coalville on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The ongoing drought in Utah means water levels at lakes and reservoirs will be low for the July 4 holiday weekend. State parks officials reported this means you need to keep a few things in mind before packing up the family and the boat.

Utah lakes and reservoirs low levels

Reservoirs are especially low. The Utah Department of Natural Resources confirmed as of June 27 more than 20 of the state’s largest reservoirs are below 55% of their available capacity.

This means many docks are under an advisory and some launch ramps are closed. You will definitely want to check the conditions before finalizing your weekend plans.

“Fourth of July is a big weekend. Very popular. Heat of the summer, people want to get out and have fun,” Utah State Parks spokesman Devan Chavez said. ” The number one thing is to check the park conditions before you get on the road.”

Chavez added ramps and docks aren’t the only things you should consider. The amount of boatable water is reduced, which might lead to feeling crammed by other boaters on your favorite lake or reservoir.

The safety rules state that boats within 150 feet of another vessel, fishing docks, or swimmers, must operate at a wakeless speed.

“We don’t want anyone getting hit by a boat,” Chavez says. “Just please be safe out there.”

Capacity limits are also a big deal on any holiday with the low levels of lakes and reservoirs in Utah. 

“If there’s a wait to get into one state park, you can check the park website or that park’s Facebook page,” Chavez recommends.

Overall, parks officials are expecting fewer boats on the water but crowded beaches and camping areas.

All state parks in Utah are in some form of fire restriction

On top of the low water levels, wildfire danger is high as ever. Fire restrictions come in two forms at Utah state parks.

Under Stage 1 restrictions, fires are only allowed in designated and agency-maintained fire pits.

“No digging your own fire pit, no making one out of rocks,” says Chavez.

Open fires are not allowed anywhere in a state park under Stage 2 restrictions. This includes designated fire pits. Liquid-fueled stoves are still permitted.

As with park conditions, Chavez suggests checking for fire restrictions before heading out this weekend.

Both can be found at https://stateparks.utah.gov

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Utah lakes and reservoirs at low levels for July 4 holiday weekend