10 Projects to Improve Boating Access in Utah

DWR press release

Several projects to improve boater access in Utah have recently been approved for funding and are expected to begin construction in 2023.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources administers the Boating Access Grant Program for Utah, which funds projects such as boat launches, marina parking areas, marina washrooms, docks and other improvements in boating areas. Through a partnership with the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation, approximately $1.2 million in funding is available for these upgrades at various locations each year. Federal funds provided to DWR by the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program cover 75% of the overall project costs.

“These projects provide the public with access to satisfying and safe boating and fishing experiences on the state’s public lakes, reservoirs and rivers,” said DWR Deputy Chief of Fisheries Craig Walker. “However, it is important to note that the majority of funds, federal and state, used to maintain and build boater access sites come from boaters themselves through excise taxes on boating equipment, fuel taxes and boater registration fees. We value the boating community that helps provide quality boating experiences for fishing and other recreation in our beautiful state.

These fees have been allocated to six approved projects so far, and four more projects are expected to be approved for funding by December.

“Boating provides an abundance of opportunities to explore and enjoy our incredible natural spaces throughout Utah,” said Ty Hunter, Outdoor Recreation Boating Program Manager. “These projects are helping to increase access, ensure responsible and sustainable use, and motivate more people to get out and enjoy nature by providing new opportunities for safe outdoor recreation on the waterways of the United States. ‘Utah.”

Here is an overview of the six projects officially approved for funding:

  • Weber River Entry Ramp Complex Design: This project will develop a set of design and engineering plans for three entry and exit sites along the Weber River. This will improve boater access points for paddle boarding along the Weber River to avoid congestion at existing access points. It will also help prevent bank erosion and increase safety along the river.

  • Colorado River Whitewater Boater Education and Site Maintenance: This project will allow a full-time employee to visit boater access and stopover points along the Colorado River to educate the public on the rules boating and camping to help prevent forest fires and the spread of aquatic invasive species. This employee will also install the necessary educational signs and treat noxious weeds in these areas.

  • Willard Bay South Marina Decontamination Station Upgrades: This project will provide a second decontamination station to properly clean boats that have visited a body of water with quagga mussels. There is currently only one decontamination facility in Willard Bay, located at the North Marina, and wait times become very long during the summer months. This new station will help boater compliance and keep Willard Bay and other water bodies free of invasive quagga mussels.

  • Lindon Marina Parking at Utah Lake: This project will expand boater parking at the Lindon Marina by adding 19 trailer parking bays and 27 vehicle parking bays, as well as 10 additional parking bays along the beach is. This will help accommodate the growing number of visitors to this area of ​​Lake Utah.

  • Gunnison Bend Reservoir Restrooms: This project will remove the aging Gunnison Bend Reservoir restrooms, which were built in the 1960s, and the reconstruction will include ADA-compliant and more modern restrooms. This will reduce the amount of maintenance needed and improve the boater experience at this reservoir.

  • Echo State Park Courtesy Docks: This project will include the installation of a new multi-dock courtesy dock with a galvanized walkway, four sections of main dock and four sections of pier dock. These will replace the existing aging wharf, which is not currently functioning well with the changing water levels at the reservoir. The new dock will be easier to maintain and provide safer mooring options when launching and retrieving.

Here are the four projects expected to be funded in December:

  • Relocating the Big Sand Wash Reservoir Toilet: This project will move the existing vault toilet closer to the boat ramp reservoir to make it easier and more convenient for boaters to use. The current bathroom is located about 1,000 feet from the boat launch, and the DWR has seen a growing problem with people not using the toilet.

  • Operation and Maintenance of Floating Structures Installed on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir: This project will allow the U.S. Forest Service to continue to cover maintenance costs for the docks and floating infrastructure at the Flaming Gorge Reservoir throughout the boating season, despite ongoing budget cuts.

  • Green River Waterfront Ramp: This project involves the construction of a new boat ramp along the Green River (within the town of Green River) to provide better access to paddle boards and rafts. The project will also help restore river habitat by removing invasive trees along the riverbank and replacing them with native plants.

  • Lost Creek Courtesy Dock and Washrooms: This project will provide a courtesy dock and new washrooms. There is currently no dock at Lost Creek Reservoir, making it difficult to launch a boat, and the current sanitary facilities are aging. These improvements will make boating more accessible in the national park.

“Millions of visitors flock to state park reservoirs each year, so it’s critical to ensure that facilities and access points adequately meet public expectations,” said Jeff Rasmussen, director of Utah State Parks Division. “For example, Willard Bay State Park alone welcomed more than 700,000 visitors in 2021. Projects like the one there help us continue to provide an enhanced customer service experience while managing the resource responsibly.”

Boaters can contact the local agency that manages a body of water or email [email protected] to suggest ideas for potential projects to improve boating access. Visit the Division of Outdoor Recreation website to learn more about Boating Access Grants.

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