SALT LAKE CITY — The extreme drought across the state of Utah has clearly impacted lakes and reservoirs, and several state parks have had to shut down their boat ramps to motorized watercraft as a result.
Some ramps at Lake Powell have also been restricted to certain uses.
The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation keeps a running list of boat ramps' statuses at state parks on its website.
On Friday, the division announced the closure of two more, bringing the total to seven.
As of the latest update, the following ramps were closed to motorized boat launches:
- Antelope Island State Park: Main Ramp (Davis County)
- Echo State Park: Main Ramp (Summit County)
- Millsite State Park: Main Ramp (Emery County)
- Piute State Park: Main Ramp (Piute County)
- Willard Bay State Park: North Marina (Box Elder County)
- Willard Bay State Park: South Marina (Box Elder County)
- Yuba State Park: Painted Rocks (Juab County)
Six more are under an "Advisory," which means the ramp "may be operating at a reduced capacity or may be at risk of closing soon." More details can be found online.
The Wahweap Main Launch Ramp at Lake Powell was closed temporarily early Saturday morning so a dive team could evaluate the status of the ramp.
On Saturday afternoon, the National Park Service (NPS) announced that houseboats would no longer be allowed to launch from Wahweap, effective immediately.
The NPS also said those with houseboats may want to get them out of the lake soon because the water is barely high enough for "boiler plate" temporary extensions to be used for houseboat retrieval. As of Saturday, the agency said the end of the longest extension was covered by water less than 10 feet deep. By next Saturday, they expect only 60 feet of temporary boiler plate left.
Officials project that if the lake elevation declines to about 3551 feet, the Wahweap ramp could become unusable for all motorized watercraft.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects that more boat ramps in both the south and north portions of the lake could become unusable if water levels continue to decline. However, the park service is now working to "rehabilitate and improve" the Stateline Auxiliary Ramp, located between Stateline and Wahweap boat ramps. They believe once the project is complete, the "legacy" ramp will be usable with water levels as low as 3450 feet.
In the north portion of the lake, the Bullfrog North Ramp is only open to personal watercraft and non-motorized boats. The NPS is working to build and install boiler plate extensions there, which will provide 80 more feet once completed.
The Halls Crossing Ramp will close to all motorized vessels on Wednesday, the NPS said, and this ramp can not be extended. It will remain only open to non-motorized watercraft until the water levels rise enough to resume motorized boat launching and retrieving.
Boat users can find the latest updates on water levels, boat ramps and other water-based services on the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area's website.