Because fewer people than expected have visited state parks during this fiscal year, low fee collections will not allow the state to buy key acres of planned additional park land.
Jerry Miller, director of the State Parks and Recreation Division, told the Legislature's Energy, Natural Resources and Argiculture Interim Committee Wednesday that the only land the state will likely buy is a 1.5-acre parcel adjacent to the Utah Lake State Park.That will allow relocation of a ranger residence and boat storage area destroyed by lake flooding in recent years. Miller said the money must be spent at Utah Lake State Park this year to match funds from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair flood damage.
But Miller said the state had hoped to buy much more land this year - some of which his department considers critical.
That includes 5.3 acres of private land adjacent to Blanding's Edge of the Cedars State Park - which includes part of some ancient Indian ruins - and dozen of acres needed to improve camping and other recreational opportunties at parks such as Scofield Lake and Hyrum Lake.
"Umless we have great attendance the last two weekends this month, we'll be lucky to get the Utah Lake land," he said, even though he worries much of the other land could be sold to others because owners are growing impatient waiting for the state to buy their property.
Miller said many of the spring weekends that his division had hoped would attract large crowds and fees were ruined by bad weather. And some that had good weather were free fishing or free entrance days at the parks - so they also brought in few funds.