Ogden Kayak Park in need of repair, kayakers say

Posted at 9:50 PM, May 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 10:29:02-04

OGDEN, Utah -- Kayakers say Ogden could be one of the best spots in the country for the sport, but the city is their own worst enemy, because they have failed to maintain the Weber River.

The Kayak Park, off of 24th Street, was built back in 2000 and for the first 10 years it was a major attraction for kayakers.

However, over time it has deteriorated and kayakers are frustrated.

"I mean it's a kayak park, but you can't really kayak it like we could or should be," said David Wolfgram of Ogden. "It could be so much better."

Kayakers say Ogden is losing tourists to surrounding states.

"If you look at other towns in Colorado and Idaho they got kayak parks that look a lot nicer, they are more maintained, there is a lot more money going into that," said Nathan Packham of Ogden.

The park's major issues date back to April 2012 when a 4-year-old boy drowned in the river. He was missing for weeks. Former City Councilwoman Amy Wicks said in order to look for the body, heavy-duty machinery was brought in, digging up the entire landscape of the river.

"When the rocks go out it changes how the waves are, when you change the channels of the river it affects the pools and drops," Wicks said.

Mayor Mike Caldwell said the city hasn't forgotten about the Kayak Park. They have plans to improve it.

"We have a master plan to redo that whole area of the river, the parkway and the trail that go along side it, and that's part of it but we have to do it in phases and unfortunately we haven't been able to get to the Kayak Park phase yet," Caldwell said.

But Wicks said as a city council member she's heard these promises before and kayakers shouldn't hold their breath.

"When I left in January there was no place in the Capital Improvement Plan to fix this," Wicks said.