Deputies warn outdoor enthusiasts to steer clear of Provo River as water runs high, fast

Posted at 9:44 PM, May 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-14 23:44:05-04

UTAH COUNTY -- Since Friday morning, the Provo River has only gotten more and more dangerous for people recreating in the area.

The water is high, fast, and cold; but some are not heeding the warning sheriff's deputies give them.

“Please don’t go near the water," said Corey Norman, the Public Information Officer for the Provo City Mayor's Office.

Norman said Provo City and firefighters passed out hundreds of flyers, warning people of the risks of going in the Provo River this weekend. People seem to have ignored them.

There have been some close calls, including an 11-year-old boy who tried to kayak and had to be rescued.

“I don’t want to have to go on the news and tell people that we’ve had an incident, or we’ve had an accident, or that we’ve had a child that’s drowned,” Norman said.

Some areas are so dangerous, they are closed off. A two-mile stretch of the trail from Canyon Glen to Timpanogos Park is closed because the river is eroding the trail from underneath.

A deputy with Utah County Sheriff's Office said he and a few other deputies sat near one of the "road closed" signs for hours, handing out citation after citation to people who tried to cross. They said it is technically trespassing, a misdemeanor that carries a fine upwards of $600.

“It is quite disruptive of some of the recreational activities people like to engage in, but it’s critical that they follow the closures,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon, the public information officer for the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Norman said the city has invested a lot of money into the infrastructure of the Provo River, but it is hard to combat a number of factors all at once, like weather and a lot of snowpack melting on top of all of the usual spring run off.

“The best way to avoid getting caught up in it is to just stay away from it," Cannon said.

The closures may last through June. Deputies said a lot of snow still needs to melt, so the river is expected to run high for at least the next month. They said repairs to the trail cannot be started until the water level recedes.