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Popular area between Provo River, Bridal Veil Falls seems more dangerous since avalanche, families say

Posted at 10:20 PM, Jun 09, 2024

PROVO, Utah — One day after a 12-year-old boy from Arizona fell into the Provo River and later died, visitors at Bridal Veil Falls are pushing for more swift water safety.

Last year's avalanche damage at the base of the popular waterfall is causing some concern.

When the temperatures go up, the families flock to Bridal Veil in Provo Canyon. But with the rising digits also comes the rising and rushing river.

"We saw some people paddleboarding and it just looked a little scary because it is going pretty fast," said McKale Balden.

You can’t step anywhere without seeing warning signs, telling families about Saturday's tragic incident.

"I think it helps. I didn’t know about the boy drowning, and so a little bit of awareness is helpful, especially if you have little kids," Balden said.

A lot of parents feel like they have to keep an extra close eye on their kids because just a few feet away from the main trail is a dropoff right next to that raging river.

"There used to be a bridge here. And it felt way safer, you could walk across it, there was way more distance I felt like from the water," said Samantha Hansen.

The path hasn’t looked the same since the January 2023 avalanche that took out the bridge and engulfed the area with snow and sticks for half a year.

This is what it looked like before the avalanche — there was more space between the walkway and the water.

"I haven’t really thought about it, but I think anything would be better than [the current state]," Hansen said. "We just had our scooter fall into the water, and if that would’ve been our son to try and get it, there’s nothing keeping him from going to get it."

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office says fences and barriers have been discussed in the past.

The bridge area is still clearly in repair.

No matter what happens, visitors should always stay aware.

"Do your research. Know the risks. Wherever you go, be safe," Brock Arbeseth said.