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Ogden Canyon road closed twice for medical rescues at off-limits hot springs

By Rob Nielsen - | Jan 31, 2024

Photo supplied, Weber County Sheriff's Office

Ogden fire crews attempt a rescue at the hot springs near the mouth of Ogden Canyon on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. This was the second medical rescue conducted at the location that day.

OGDEN — State Route 39 needed to be closed for two separate medical rescues Tuesday at an off-limits hot spring in Ogden Canyon.

Lt. Colby Ryan of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office told the Standard-Examiner on Wednesday that both incidents — reported around 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday — played out largely the same.

“Both incidents, we got called to the mouth of Ogden Canyon on reports of an unconscious male,” he said. “Deputies from Weber County and medical from Ogden City Fire arrived. Both patients were conscious, breathing and talking when we got there. Due to the area and the hazards with the ice, snow and everything, it was safer for the responders to use a ladder truck to hoist the patient up onto the road and into the ambulance than it was to try and ‘package’ them up and carry them out.”

Due to the use of the ladder truck and its need for space to help facilitate the rescue, S.R. 39 through the canyon was shut down in both directions for about an hour each time.

“Right now, both patients — we’re unsure if it was a medical condition or if any alcohol or narcotics played anything into it,” Ryan said. “Both of them were taken up to the hospital where they received further treatment and are both expected to survive.”

Ryan said that the springs are technically off-limits to the public.

“It is on private property,” he said. “There is fencing around it but people have torn the fence apart and made a trail to get down to the hot pots.”

He said this has been the case for years, but trespassing has remained persistent.

“It’s always been kind of fenced off,” Ryan said. “When (the Utah Department of Transportation) redid Ogden Canyon about eight to nine years ago, they did improve fencing on the Ogden Canyon side to help prevent people from going down there. People go down there, they leave their trash, their garbage, and right now the conditions are so icy that it’s dangerous for responders to get down there. It’s dangerous for people to try to traverse the trail system to get there. Then when something like this happens, it obviously takes more time for us to get there and provide medical care or whatever the needs may be.”

He said the location has proven difficult to keep trespassers out of, but authorities are working with the property owners on solutions.

“We do have a big issue with trespassing,” he said. “A lot of people do go down there. It’s hard to enforce because of manning issues and the location of where it is. Right now, we’re working with the property owner to come up with some ideas on how to alleviate the problem and take care of the trespassers and how they get down there.”

Ryan said, in addition to avoiding trespassing on private property, people need to use caution while recreating during the winter.

“Our enforcements will increase throughout the next little while until we can come up with a long-term solution to this issue,” he said. “Anytime people go out and recreate, let somebody know where they are, go out in groups so in case something does happen, somebody’s there able to call 911 so responders can get to them before something tragic happens.”


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