Boats return to Great Salt Lake waters after years of drought

Jun 6, 2023, 6:51 PM | Updated: 7:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — An exciting and long anticipated day at the Great Salt Lake Marina as dozens of large boats finally got back into the water. Park officials call it “crane day.”

“This is extremely exciting. Not only for the park but for the entire division of state parks,” said Devan Chavez with Utah State Parks. “First time in recent memory that this has happened.”

Some of the 35 large sailboats have been sitting for years because of the extensive drought that Utah has been experiencing. To have them back in the water brings new life to the lake that was withering away incredibly fast.

“This is the boating communities; big hurrah, we’re back! The Great Salt Lake is open,” Chavez said.

Just months ago, the Marina was completely dry. The ongoing drought shut down the ramps and forced everyone to pull their boats out of the Marina. No one knew how long it was going to last.

The Great Salt Lake getting billions of gallons of water

“Honestly, a lot of us didn’t know what to expect, but thanks to the unprecedented snowpack levels and the runoff, outdoor recreation is back to the Great Salt Lake,” Chavez expressed.

Sailboat Captain Chase Burch calls his boat “Ohana.” He’s thrilled that he finally gets to launch his boat after spending the last two years sailing elsewhere.

“Today is very unexpected,” said Burch to KSL TV. “The historic snowfall this winter was really a surprise and super helpful to bring the water up. Seemed like getting a bonus round.”

But rangers say you don’t have to have a sailboat to enjoy the Great Salt Lake. They are hoping the new water levels will have Utahns take notice of what the massive body of water has to offer.

“There are so many opportunities to experience the great lake,” Chavez said.

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Boats return to Great Salt Lake waters after years of drought