Upgrades Planned For Summit County Reservoirs, Echo And Rockport
The pandemic year of 2020 resulted in increased visitation to Utah’s state parks.
Following up on that, the 2021 Utah Legislature poured more money into improving the park system, including the Echo and Rockport Reservoirs.
The Utah State Division of Natural Resources reported there was a 33 percent increase in state park visitation last year, with over 2.66 million visitors.
Earlier this year, the Legislature allocated $120 million for state parks, including $67 million to improve infrastructure at parks and reservoirs.
Eric Bradshaw is is director of the Echo and Rockport State Parks. In a KPCW interview this week, he reviewed the improvements being made at Echo.
“So a year ago, we did the campgrounds, we revamped the campgrounds, so that opened up last June. But this year, starting here, early August we will be revamping the whole day-use center, or day-use area. There’ll be a new entrance, so we’re gonna change it from this—rather than a hairpin turn, it’s gonna be a nice 45-degree angle turn-in, new visitors’ center, paid parking, and we’re gonna extend the boat ramp as well.”
A critical drought year in Utah is resulting in low water levels, with, currently, 28 percent at Echo and 32 percent at Rockport. That is affecting activity at Echo’s boat ramp.
“We ran out of ramp. They can launch off the beach at their own risk. There’s a few that will. It’s all dictated on running out of ramp. Just, why it’s gonna be so great to get that ramp improved. But when we start construction, we will be closing that area until construction’s completed.”
Meanwhile, Bradshaw said he’s excited to see funding for the Rockport Reservoir, which includes improvements for day-use, parking and beach access.
“We have Cedar Point, which used to be like a walk-in campsite which only had eight sites. So not a lot of use. We changed that to a day-use area and it became very popular, cause that’s the sandy beach area. It’s really sought after. And so what we’re doing, we’re gonna add additional parking, bathrooms and hopefully some sunshades as well. So that’ll take us up to around 30 more parking spots, where right now we have about 75.”
Bradshaw said the Rockport project is still in the preliminary stage, but they want to break ground in the fall.
Bradshaw is also the director of the Rail/Trail, Summit County’s linear state park which runs from Park City to Echo.
Park City wants to take over the maintenance of the portion of the Rail/Trail within city limits, and, for instance, to widen the pavement.
Bradshaw said he’s been talking to the city for about a year about the proposal. If a change is made, he said, the trail within the city would still be a state park.