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Echo's Low Water Level Will Prevent Motorboat Use, Aid Paddleboarding and Construction

Coalville City

Echo Reservoir will be limited for recreationists this season not only due to the low water year but because of construction set to begin in July.


Park general manager Eric Bradshaw says the state park near Coalville is going to be a “paddleboard paradise.” As of last Friday, the water level in the reservoir was at 44%.


It’s not a year for big motorized watercraft. Bradshaw said the park will be hospitable to kayakers, fishermen and wave runners.


“We’re going to allow day users to use the campground, to access the beach if they want to go to the beach,” he said.


He estimated that the boat ramp access will run out by June.


“Some people will take smaller boats, stuff like that,” he said. “They’ll launch off the beach, which is at your own risk. But as far as the larger boats, the ski boats, things of that nature, they won’t be able to launch because it drops off.”


Bradshaw said that the docks aren’t available at Echo this season.


“We didn’t even put the docks in this year, because the water levels, one, are so low. Two, we’ve already moved the boat docks offsite,” he said. “So to bring them back onsite, just to put them in for two or three weeks, didn’t make a lot of sense.”


On the plus side, though, Utah State Parks opened the Dry Hollow campground last year. It’s located midway between the north end of the reservoir and Coalville. Bradshaw said it’s going to be open all year.


Meanwhile, Echo State Park will be closing its day-use and launch ramp area sometime in July to construct park improvements and expansion.

Coalville’s Mayor Trevor Johnson said it’s a boost to his town’s economy when the Reservoir is active. At the same time, he’s enthusiastic about the improvements going in.


“They’re making a better access off of that highway, so that it’s a little safer and a little more efficient, improving the parking lots, improving the boat ramps. They’re adding campgrounds. They’re adding cabins. They’re adding dump facilities and water facilities. And so it’s a really big impact on the summer economy in Coalville.”


Bradshaw said that after bidding and the selection of a contractor, the state will announce the specific date in mid or late July for the project launch and close the park’s north entrance.


He said given the water year, the timing of the project is good.


“It’s going be a good year to do construction,” he said. “Because this year, with the water level being so low, part of the project is we’re going to improve the boat ramp. So that means we can lengthen that boat ramp to go lower than 30% so we can extend that boating season.”


The state has been managing Echo since 2018. Bradshaw also manages nearby Rockport State Reservoir, which has been under the state’s purview since the 1960s.


He said the water level at Rockport is at 59%, which is the lowest that he has ever seen it.


The boat ramp there has five lanes, which will be down to three by this weekend. The park has one dock with a capacity of eight boats.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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