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State parks off to a busy start for Memorial Day holiday

Published: Thursday, May 23 2013 3:06 p.m. MDT

A wakeboarder enjoys the water at Rockport Reservoir near Wanship Friday, Sept. 30, 2011. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) A wakeboarder enjoys the water at Rockport Reservoir near Wanship Friday, Sept. 30, 2011. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The campgrounds at all but three Utah state parks that offer camping will be chock full Memorial Day weekend, a fitting start to the annual kickoff to the summer recreation season.

"We didn't expect to be this busy," said Deena Loyal, Utah State Parks spokeswoman. "We have had this wet spring, so we weren't sure what to expect."

Loyal said 29 of the 32 state parks with campsites are booked, but Scofield, Starvation and Bear Lake may still have some camping spots available going into the weekend. Even those cooler locations are expected to be snapped up quickly as Utahns head for the great outdoors.

"I think people must be staying closer to home," she said, adding that weather plays a big role, with highs anticipated to be in the 80s over the weekend.

Photos of Utah State Park campground at Yuba Reservoir, Utah, April 19, 2007. (Ray Grass, Deseret News) Photos of Utah State Park campground at Yuba Reservoir, Utah, April 19, 2007. (Ray Grass, Deseret News)

Willard Bay State Park North Marina will remain closed over Memorial Day weekend, Loyal noted, because concerns remain to public health in light of a March pipeline failure that leaked diesel fuel into the area.

Visitors can still take advantage of the South Marina for day use, boat launching, and camping. Updates are available at willardbay.utah.gov.

Earlier this week, state agencies said testing revealed the fish caught at Willard Bay are safe for consumption.

Because Willard Bay is such a popular destination for sport fishing, scientists netted wipers, catfish and gizzard shad from the reservoir on May 9. Tissue samples from 15 fish show no levels of diesel-related contaminants.

Elsewhere across the state, the U.S. Forest Service notes that most campgrounds are open, although some of the higher elevation sites may remain snow-covered or muddy.

Stand Up Paddle boarders at Jordanelle State Park for a story on things you can do with your family on the final 3-day weekend, marking the end of the summer season Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, in Wasatch County, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Stand Up Paddle boarders at Jordanelle State Park for a story on things you can do with your family on the final 3-day weekend, marking the end of the summer season Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, in Wasatch County, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Most all campgrounds have opened at Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, a popular destination for its fishing, scenery and hiking.

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest's website has a detailed listing of district by district recreation areas and their status, including telephone numbers and any fire restrictions.

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