UTAH

Potential for rockslides, unstable cliff ledges affecting Utah outdoor safety

Mar 31, 2022, 5:01 PM
Utah outdoor safety Richfield fall...
Bulls Head Cliff in Sevier County, Utah. Photo credit: Sevier County Sheriff's Office

SALT LAKE CITY — A hiker’s death in Sevier County and a rockslide that stopped traffic brought Utah outdoor safety into focus in the span of just a few days.

Both indicate the arrival of spring and that people should take caution when spending time outdoors in Utah.

“People need to be cautious, especially now,” Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis told KSL NewsRadio.

Richfield is in Sevier County, and it wasn’t far from Richfield City that a woman fell to her death.

While hiking on March 27, Candice Thompson stepped onto the edge of a cliff known to locals as Bulls Head. She lost her footing when the rock came loose and died after falling as many as 100 feet.

Officials in Sevier County investigated the area after the fatal fall and later reported their findings. The deteriorated conditions of the rock, combined with winter weather and moisture were reported as contributing factors.

The Bulls Head area west of Richfield is made up of reddish sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone according to the Utah Geological Survey. All three are sedimentary rocks, but while sandstone is less prone to weathering, siltstone and mudstone are considered highly susceptible. 

How to assure Utah outdoor safety

Federal, state, and local officials all monitor outdoor recreation areas in Utah. But the vast expanse of outdoor opportunities in the state means there may be periods of time when a particular area is unsafe. 

“When hiking in spring, people need to be careful above and below the hiking area,” Curtis said.

He also said hikers should avoid walking on or near cliff edges at any time.

Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation is one of the agencies tasked with maintaining parks, trails, and open spaces. Liz Sollis, a community engagement officer with the agency, said they perform regular maintenance and safety inspections.

And they make a concerted effort, she said, to monitor the county’s most heavily used areas. But it is likely impossible for county officials to know about all of the potential dangers or areas that need attention.

In any case, whether outdoors on federal, state, or county-operated lands, if someone sees a problem that should be addressed, they are encouraged to contact officials who can address the problem.

Related reading:

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

Image from the scene of the shooting on South Major street in Salt Lake City (Photo courtesy of SLC...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD investigating party shooting that left one in critical condition

Police received multiple calls regarding shots fired near 1485 South Major Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday July 3, 2022. 
16 hours ago
The scene of the shooting at 900 S. 200 West (Photo courtesy of Adam Sotelo)...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: Shooting on TRAX platform leaves one dead, one injured

Police responded to reports of shots fired on a TRAX platform near 900 South and 200 West at around 10 p.m. on Saturday night.
16 hours ago
Man dies at flight show during his performance in shockwave jet truck....
Waverly Golden

Man dies during performance at Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show

Battle Creek Police Department, Federal Aviation Administration Officials, and the fire department are still investigating the accident. 
2 days ago
SUV Crashes into Famous Footwear in Sugar House....
Waverly Golden

Update: Vehicle crashes into Famous Footwear, leaving four injured

A crash at a Famous Footwear in Sugar House leaves four injured.
2 days ago
Map of Layton City firework restrictions...
Waverly Golden

Layton City is under extreme firework restrictions

A Facebook post by Layton City said a firework ban is in place east of Highway 89 and hazard zones. Citations will be issued for violations.
2 days ago
Photo of Riverton Police, the ones who sent out the amber alert, vehicle...
Mark Jones

8-year-old boy struck by car in Riverton, suffers head injury

Riverton police an 8-year-old boy suffered a head injury Friday night after a collision with a vehicle. The boy was transported to Primary Children's Hospital.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Potential for rockslides, unstable cliff ledges affecting Utah outdoor safety