Utah Lake Perspective: A Glass Half Full
2015 has been another tough year for water levels at Utah Lake. At the end of last summer, the water levels had decreased to 4.5 ft. below full*. The limited amount of snowfall from last winter only raised the water level to about 3.5 ft. below full, and as of September 22nd the water level was 5.75 feet below full. With an average depth of only 9 feet when the lake is full, numbers like that can be very discouraging.
On the bright side, there are a couple of sandy beaches that start to appear around the lake as the water levels decrease. Consider visiting one of these two beaches while the weather is still warm for the next couple of weeks. Both spots were cleaned up on September 19th as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, so now is the perfect time to visit these beautiful locations in the heart of Utah Valley.
Vineyard Beach is located just south of the Lindon Marina. There are 3 picnic tables near the beach and 3 additional picnic tables along the road that runs to the south of the parking lot. A wheelchair access ramp makes it possible for more people to enjoy this spot. Try some of these activities at Vineyard Beach:
- For you geocaching lovers out there, see if you can find the two geocaches that the Utah Lake Commission has placed in the area. (“Vineyard Beach” and “Vineyard Beach 2” on this Geocaching map)
- Bring your kayaks and stand up paddleboards. This is a great spot to launch handheld watercraft.
- The low water has exposed a strip of walkable shoreline that runs over a mile to the south of the main beach area. Try going to a sunset walk along the beach! Who would have thought that this was possible at Utah Lake?
Click here to see Vineyard Beach on Google Maps.
Sandy Beach is located at the mouth of the Spanish Fork River. The name is very appropriate for this location, especially under the current conditions. The picture at the top of this post was taken there. Here are some fun things to try at Sandy Beach:
- Get your binoculars out of your closet and see how many different kinds of birds you can see from Sandy Beach.
- Have a picnic at the beach and bring the outdoor games that you have in your garage. It’s a great spot for volleyball, badminton, frisbee, bocce ball, etc.
- Try skimboarding.
- If you have young kids, they will love playing in the sand! See what kind of a sand sculpture they can create.
Click here to see Sandy Beach on Google Maps.
*The legal elevation of the lake is 4,489.045 feet above sea level. That number is known as the “Compromise Elevation.” It was given that name because land owners and water rights holders worked together in 1985 to establish a mutually agreed upon level at which the lake should be maintained (or tried to be maintained). The lake is considered to be full when it is at that point. In the early 1900s, a pumping station was constructed at the mouth of the Jordan River in order to make sure that residents and farmers along the Jordan River received the amount of water that they needed for irrigation and other water use.