Boaters say tariffs go up, Pineview Reservoir quality declines
Boaters complain of many problems at Port Ramp, the main boating port on Pineview Reservoir. On Tuesday, they said a sidewalk fell apart, the dock system was below average, and concrete blocks were submerged in the water. (Tanner Siegworth, KSL-TV)
HUNTSVILLE, Weber County – Pineview Reservoir is one of Utah’s top boating destinations, but many boaters complain of unstoppable prices rising. The KSL investigators took a close look at all the problems and figured out how your money is being spent.
Clark Bailey and Nick Granato go to Pineview mainly to fish for tiger muskie. But while the always elusive fish lurk beneath the surface, boaters on land face other challenges.
“It’s frustrating,” said Bailey.
“There are problems from start to finish,” said Granato.
Those problems, they said, are specific to Port Ramp, the main boating port on Pineview Reservoir. Boaters complain that there are many problems – like a crumbling sidewalk, a subpar dock system, and submerged concrete blocks.
“It’s kind of a ticking time bomb,” said Granato. “You can damage your prop. You can damage your boat. You could potentially damage your trailer.”
One of the biggest problems of all, said boaters, is the ramp itself. They said it is extended and worn out.
“Your gear vibrates really hard when you go in and out,” said Bailey. “I’ve heard of people breaking axes here.”
In addition, the entrance fees have increased. Two years ago, an annual launch pass cost Pineview $ 150. Last year it was $ 175 and this year it’s $ 197.
“I think the consensus is that if you need $ 197 for an annual starting pass, all you have to do is justify it,” Bailey said.
One more thing: this $ 197 annual fee is double what you would pay at Bear Lake, Flaming Gorge, and Jordanelle. The difference is that these are state-run and Pineview is federal.
Boaters at Pineview Reservoir complain of many issues such as concrete cinder blocks submerged in the water. (Photo: Tanner Siegworth, KSL-TV)
The KSL investigators brought these concerns to the forest service.
“I know the expectations and everything else. We’re working on it asap,” said Sean Harwood, the district ranger overseeing Pineview. “You can’t fix things overnight.”
Harwood said in January 2019 the Forest Service hired a management company, Utah Recreation Company, to oversee operations at Pineview Reservoir. The company sets the fees.
But where do the fees go?
Boaters at Pineview Reservoir complain that there are many problems, such as a crumbling sidewalk. (Photo: Tanner Siegworth, KSL-TV)
The KSL investigators asked the forest service for the records. They couldn’t produce them because the company doesn’t provide the government with a breakdown. However, Harwood said the money will be used for operations, maintenance and projects.
“We have big plans and URC is a big part of it,” said Harwood.
The other two starting places at Pineview have seen improvements. Cemetery Point’s boat ramp was repaired this season and Anderson Cove got new toilets. But nothing about Port Ramp.
“So we’re seeing some improvement, just not here,” said Bailey.
Bailey and Granato believe improvements will be made at the other locations as they bring in extra cash from watercraft rentals at Cemetery Point and new glamping tents at Anderson Cove.
Harwood said it wasn’t true.
“No, absolutely not,” he said.
Instead, he said the problems stem from a different management company.
“For the past 20 years we’ve put the band-aid on things,” said Harwood. “We’ll do it, but it’ll take time.”
New glamping tents in Anderson Cove, Pineview Reservoir. (Photo: Tanner Siegworth, KSL-TV)
Harwood said Port Ramp will get a new dock next spring. While they’re at it, they’re going to clean up all those cinder blocks too. But not a word yet about improvements to the most widely used ramp at Pineview.
“I’d say, ‘Wait, it’s coming,'” said Harwood.
It’s a promise Bailey and Granato hope the Forest Service can keep.
“We hope things can change and things can be improved,” said Bailey.
The Forest Service believes the Utah Recreation Company has done a good job over the past three years, but there is still a lot of catching up to do here.
They also have millions of dollars in federal grants and they say this will help them improve Pineview over the next five to ten years.
Tanja DeanMike Headrick