Large Showboat Once Sailed on Utah Lake.
Large Showboat Once Sailed on Utah Lake.
A Curious Craft Once Skimmed the Ice on Utah Lake.
Carp Not Native to Utah Lake; Introduced in 1882.
Utah Lake was one of the natural resources that attracted Mormon pioneers to the Great Basin. The lake’s waters provided a home for thirteen species of fish, the most commercially useful of which were the Bonneville cutthroat trout, several types of sucker, and the chub. Most of the native species are now gone, and the fish so numerous in the lake today, including the carp, have been introduced by man.
Just thirty years after settlement in 1849, over-fishing and poor conservation had drastically reduced the number of trout, the lake’s most desirable fish. Those interested in fishing began looking for a good game and commercial fish to replace it. Newspaper articles told how people in Europe had successfully raised carp. Fish farmers touted carp as a good table fish and a profitable cash crop.
Carp were imported to North America in 1870, and the recent completion of the transcontinental railroad made it possible to ship the fish inland. Carp came to Utah in 1881. The next year, three men introduced carp to Utah County, and carp fingerlings soon found their way into Utah Lake where they flourished.
Unfortunately, the fish have been detrimental to the lake’s ecology. Carp have rooted out or eaten the plants that once grew on the bottom of the lake. This reduced the cover where young game fish could hide. Fewer plants also make it easier for wave action to stir up the sediment on the bottom of the lake and make the water murky. Bodily wastes from the vast number of carp increase the nutrients in the water and encourage the growth of algae on the lake’s surface during hot weather.
A concerted effort over the years to decrease the number of carp in the lake uses large nets to remove them. The ecology of the lake improves with less carp. Keeping them under control is an ongoing program.
During the 1940s, ice skating flourished on what was then called the Provo Boat Harbor (Utah Lake State Park). Before there was a harbor, however, there were very few safe places to skate on the lake.
In an effort to keep skaters out of harm’s way, Provo City and the federal government’s Works Progress Administration cooperated to open an ice skating rink in the old baseball park that once stood on the land now occupied by the Provo City Recreation Center.
In November, 1938, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, and BYU’s Associated Men Students sponsored activities to help raise money for the construction of the temporary rink. The Jaycees sponsored a work day where leveling and banking were completed, and men flooded the rink, which measures approximately 400 by 600 feet.
Men sprinkled water on the rink every night for the remainder of the cold season. Laborers hung roughly 2,000 square yards of canvas over the ice to help protect it from the sun. Warm weather delayed the opening of the rink, but authorities finally sanctioned a limited opening of the outside facility to “children only” on December 14, 1938, and 300 kids attended. Ballpark lights illuminated the rink at night.
Children monopolized the rink until a grand opening on January 3, 1939. Provo City gathered Christmas trees and placed them around the ice to make the rink look “realistic.” So many patrons attended that evening schedules were divided into an early session for those age 12 and under, and a later session for those over 12. A public address system provided music for the skaters.
Children under 15 years old were admitted free. All others paid 10 cents. Skaters could check their shoes for an additional 5 cents. These fees helped pay for lighting and sprinkling expenses. The rink closed on February 23, 1939. It opened again for the next two winters and then was discontinued when safe skating became available on the partially completed Provo Boat Harbor. During its short history, over 23,000 skaters used the rink in North Park.
Utah Lake Posts:
Utah Lake is a shallow freshwater lake in the U.S. state of Utah. It lies in Utah Valley, surrounded by the Provo-Orem metropolitan area. The lake’s only river outlet, the Jordan River, is a tributary of the Great Salt Lake. Evaporation accounts for 42% of the outflow of the lake, which leaves the lake slightly saline. The elevation of the lake is legally at 4,489 feet above sea level. If the lake elevation goes any higher, the pumps and gates on the Jordan River are left open.(From Wikipedia)
Lincoln Beach is a Utah County Park at, well, Lincoln Beach. It’s along the Southern side of Utah Lake near Palmyra and West Mountain.
Lincoln Beach is located on the shore of Utah Lake and offered several activities for Utah County residents around the turn of the 20th Century. Although it lost much of that attraction over the ensuing years, Utah County has recently taken several steps and spent thousands of dollars in developing Lincoln Beach as a prime site for camping, fishing, and boating. County workers dredged the boat channel and constructed a concrete boat launch and added a floating boat dock facilitating access to Utah Lake. A fish cleaning station is now open to clean that catch and prepare it for the barbecue! Several camp sites have been improved with water and a nearby restroom. A large pavilion is now open for larger groups plus individual pavilions with picnic tables are open on a first come first served basis. (*)
Sandy Beach is a really fun place to play in the summer, I have spent countless hours there. It’s one of the only places in Utah Lake where the bottom is sand instead of stinky mud and the water doesn’t really get deep – I can walk hundreds of feet out into the lake and still have my feet on the ground. It’s a fun place for fires and playing with kids in the water.