OGDEN — Most Northern Utah outdoor recreation facilities will open by Memorial Day, despite what has so far been an unusually cold and wet spring.
The Utah Department of Transportation says State Route 65, the Big Mountain Highway, will reopen May 25 after being closed throughout the winter. The road, which provides access to East Canyon State Park, had been closed from milepost 3 near Emigration Canyon, to milepost 14, just south of the East Canyon Reservoir.
Northern Utah’s other alpine highway, SR 39, also known as the Monte Cristo Highway, will likely be closed until June 7, according to UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders. The road received heavy snow over the last several months and is closed between milepost 37 just east of Huntsville near Ant Flat Road, and at milepost 56, near Woodruff in Rich County.
Saunders said snow levels are minimal on the lower reaches of the route, but significantly deeper at higher elevations. The road provides access to places like the Monte Cristo Campground and Birch Creek Reservoir and is heavily used by outdoor enthusiasts when in service.
In general, UDOT says Memorial Day travel across the Wasatch Front will likely be congested. The state recommends drivers plan ahead for Interstate 15 delays through Monday.
As residents departed for trips this weekend, UDOT spokesman John Gleason said traffic engineers expected delays of up to 40 minutes on southbound I-15 through Salt Lake and Utah counties and up to 30 minutes on northbound I-15 through Davis County.
On Monday, delays for return trips could reach 20 minutes on northbound I-15 between Provo and Nephi. Congestion on Monday will start building around 2 p.m. and continue through 8 p.m. Across the state, construction on most UDOT projects will be suspended to help reduce delays during the holiday weekend, Gleason said.
The U.S. Forest Service said Pineview Reservoir is open to all normal activities, which includes boating, windsurfing, swimming, fishing and beach activities. Same for Mantua and Causey Reservoirs. Willard Bay State Park is open year-round.
Local rivers are typically open year-round, but in its weekly fishing report, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says the Ogden River is extremely high and murky from spring runoff. DWR says the Weber River is the same, especially near Ogden and Mountain Green. Anglers are recommended to stay away from this stretch of the river because of dangerous conditions.
Many outdoor pools and splash pads are also open. Justin Rassmussen, North Ogden City Aquatic Center Manager, told the Standard-Examiner the North Shore pool will open is set to open Saturday, despite the heavy rains that have hit the region as of late. The Roy City outdoor Aquatic Center will also open Saturday and the splash pad at South Ogden City’s Nature park will open Monday morning. Riverdale’s splash pad opened Friday.
Lagoon spokesman Adam Leishman said the park’s outdoor water facility Lagoon A Beach is set to open by Memorial Day as well.
Summer hours at Layton City’s Surf ‘N Swim don’t begin until June 1.