People ignoring signs, recreating in flooded areas up Provo Canyon

Jun 8, 2023, 6:44 AM

Crews work to clear debris, including a large log, from the Provo River Tuesday. Some people are ig...

Crews work to clear debris, including a large log, from the Provo River Tuesday. Some people are ignoring warning signs and recreating in dangerous, closed areas of Provo Canyon, officials say. (Photo: Shelby Lofton, KSL-TV)

(Photo: Shelby Lofton, KSL-TV)

PROVO — Officials said people are disregarding signs on the trails in Provo Canyon and heading straight into danger.

The Provo River is running high and is expected to stay that way for the next few weeks, making conditions more dangerous.

“The water levels, they were expected to rise but with the change in the forecast, we may have peaked already,” Provo River Commissioner Scott Bergendorf said. “There’s a chance we won’t have to go up any higher, but we don’t know for sure yet.”

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the Provo River swelled with runoff as Utahns planned to enjoy the outdoors.

“We haven’t seen this level in quite some time,” Steve Myers, the owner of High Country Adventure said. “A lot of mud’s coming in. This is about the dirtiest I’ve seen it in several, several years.”

High flows have caused flooding along some spots of the Provo River Trail, specifically in the area between Nunn’s Park and Vivian Park.

“Don’t press your luck by continuing into an area if you see flooding … in an area that hasn’t yet been closed,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said.

He said you never know what’s underneath.

“You don’t know how deep the water is. You don’t know what’s beneath the surface of the water, whether it’s boulders and rocks, whether it’s trees.”

No swimming signs warn people to stay out of the water in both parks and along the river trail.

“I’m getting word now that there may be people throwing some of the signage into the rivers. That is criminal mischief,” Cannon said.

Some people are disregarding the warnings altogether. The Bridal Veil Falls area was closed to visitors last month because of debris and ice left behind from a January avalanche, which continues to melt.

Even though the popular destination is unsafe and closed to the public, people visited the area and climbed on top of the avalanche deposit.

“There’s signs there, there’s tape there, there’s an electronic billboard there saying that it’s closed, but people are routinely ignoring that and continuing to go up there,” Cannon said.

He said people who are caught in a closed-off area will be cited. He recommends they stick to the lookout areas on dry land.

“Jumping in the river is — it’s stupid behavior,” Cannon said.

For more information about flooding visit floodsmart.gov.


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People ignoring signs, recreating in flooded areas up Provo Canyon