This subject comes up every year. And I’m always amazed that it’s the same questions every year. I think what some people don’t realize is that not all waters within the state are being managed by the state. A few that are would include Willard, East Canyon, Rockport, and Jordanelle. A few that are not would include Pineview, Strawberry/Soldier Creek, Newton, and Mantua. The state managed properties are, for the most part, being run by state employees and the fees collected go into the states general fund and help cover the salaries of employees, maintenance of facilities, upgrades (like adding water/electric hookups to some sites at Hyrum State Park), etc.
Pineview and Strawberry/Soldier Creek are managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). And as you know, or should know, all Federal agencies have been dealing with funding cutbacks and reductions in employees for at least the last 2 decades. In order for them to survive and function in this environment, many agencies (like the USFS) have turned to ‘contracting out’ to run their facilities. In the case of Pineview and Strawberry/Soldier Creek, American Land & Leisure (AL&L) got the contract. They are a private company that is in business to make money. So they have a fee schedule (probably with contractual restrictions imposed by the Federal contract) that is designed to cover their operating expenses (including paying a fee to USFS to have the contract) and make a profit. AL&L is NOT under contract to provide improvements to the facilities they manage for the USFS. That responsibility still belongs to the USFS.
So when you go to one of these facilities and get all ticked off at the deplorable condition of the launch facilities, why are you taking it out on the AL&L employee running it? He or she has absolutely zero control or influence over the situation. They’re just there trying to do a thankless job and earn a few extra bucks to make their retirement years a little less financially stressful.
Bottom line here is that nothing is free anymore. We are going to have to pay for our recreation one way or the other. Utah has their facilities and fee schedule, the USFS has theirs and a fee schedule, and there are even some private ones out there with another fee schedule (like Echo). And Echo is charging $15 a day to use their launch. None of these agencies honor other agency passes. That’s why the State Parks Pass isn’t acceptable at USFS facilities and vice versa. Accept it. Deal with it. If you want to play, you’re going to have to pay.
And don’t forget, there are actually some reservoirs out there that DON’T have a fee like Causey, Lost Creek, Newton, Birch Creek, and Woodruff. But some of them don’t have a boat launch.
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I'm 70 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
“Free men don't ask permission to bear arms.” - Glen Aldrich
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” - Dr. Seuss