New campground at Wasatch Mountain State Park prompts concerns over tree removal
Wasatch Mountain State Park plans to build a new campground. Part of those plans include removing trees, and some park visitors worry that will disrupt wildlife ecosystems.
The area near the Chalet lodge at Wasatch Mountain State Park features old cottonwood and black willow trees, some with thick, gnarled limbs protruding outward from the root. Picture the low-hanging, sturdy branches that children who enjoy climbing trees can’t resist.
Some of those trees along the perimeter of a future campground were tagged with orange paint recently. That sparked concerns about the bird habitats in them - someone even stapled a poster to one of the trees opposing its removal.
Division of State Parks Public Information Officer Devan Chavez confirmed the plan to take out 10 trees for the new campground.
“That is because these trees are, quite frankly, they're an eyesore to some, and they're dangerous in other areas,” he said. “When you have dangerous situations like rotting trees, or old dried up trees falling over, pieces of and falling off, we don't want anyone's trailer or vehicle to get damaged or, you know, heaven forbid it falls on a tent or a runner across the trail or something like that.
Chavez said two weeks ago, a large limb fell across the road to the Chalet area.
He also said a study conducted by Horrocks Engineers found the project will have no effect on threatened or endangered species. He also added the park will plant 30 new trees.
Tree removal and construction aren’t scheduled yet, but the plan is to build 10 new campsites to open by next summer.
The park hosted more than 500,000 visitors last year. Chavez said more people are frequenting local state parks as the population grows, and the Deer Creek and Jordanelle state parks are also building new campgrounds to accommodate the crowds.
For more information, visit stateparks.utah.gov or contact park managers or rangers with questions.