Utah Lake shunning its past to become modern area draw
Regardless of who or what you are, a checkered past is not an easy thing to escape. Doubly so if you are a once neglected lake unable to move to a new town. Utah Lake is no exception.
Because of misinformation about it being highly polluted, Utah Lake has a bit of an image problem, mostly with locals. Take this one for example.
On the other hand, out of state visitors call it like the see it: “It’s the prettiest place I’ve visited after two weeks of exploring other western state parks,” one visitor told me last year. “It’s beautiful,” said one Washington native last month.
But since the stigma largely remains with locals, authorities have been able to use that positive out-of-state perception to their advantage.
“Utah Lake is a huge asset,” says Joel Racker, president of the Utah Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. He should know. He and his team, along with the Utah Lake Commission, just landed a nationally televised bass tournament. The response: “It’s great to hear locals say ‘I didn’t think they could do that on Utah lake.'”
When they say things like that, Racker says, the local perception will only follow the more accurate out-of-state perception, which in turn makes promoting the lake that much easier.
But bass fishing isn’t the only thing Racker and his team are working on. They’re also gunning for other surface water sports events, ESPN televised collegiate tournaments, and even an Iron Man. “We’re aggressivly promoting Utah Lake,” he says. “Event organizers I talk to are amazed we have this huge, majestic resource just three miles from downtown Provo.”
The new convention center will also “create great exposure for the lake,” he says. As will the new front runner rail from Salt Lake to Provo.
In the last two years alone, traffic to Utah Valley’s website has grown 40%, without any additional marketing spend. In other words, a rising tide raises all boats, even ones on Utah Lake.
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Photo credit: Christi Hill