Rockport State Park Completely Booked over Memorial Day Weekend
Hello, my name is Lacy and I have been a seasonal park ranger aide at Rockport State Park for 3 consecutive summers and am currently volunteering as an intern at Tread Lightly! for the summer of 2013.
Everyone who works for the Utah State Parks knows that Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to the summer season. Earlier in the week I heard the exciting news that all the Utah State Parks were full for the weekend. This proved true Friday night when all of our 120 camping sites were booked and we had to turn people away once our overflow areas were also full. Over Memorial Day weekend Rockport saw over 2,000 visitors between campers and day use. With this many visitors at Rockport, it is important to understand the Tread Lightly! principles such as educating yourself about responsible recreation.
If everyone does not do their part we could potentially lose access to beautiful places like Rockport. Rockport is located a convenient 45 minutes away from the Salt Lake Valley, home to over two million people, and offers many different recreation activities such as boating, camping, hiking, fishing and even hunting for scorpions with black lights.
We also saw hundreds of boaters, kayakers, and paddle boarders coming to visit Rockport. Even though it was a windy weekend outdoor recreationists were still eager to get out and enjoy the park. Our rangers were hard at work ensuring that everyone had a life jacket and the correct safety gear. Making sure that recreationists on the water were safe with the proper knowledge and equipment is one of the main Tread Lightly! principles.
At the entrance gate, we were adamant about asking everyone that was taking watercraft out on the water had not been to any quagga mussel infested waters. With Lake Powell now infested with these invasive species keeping quagga mussels out of Rockport and other state parks is harder. Tread Lightly! offers instructions for preventing the spread of invasive species in Utah waterways such as always washing your watercraft and transportation equipment. Also making sure to remove all plant, animal, and water from your watercraft before moving to another body of water is necessary. It is important that we prevent the spread of quagga mussels to keep this destructive animal from ruining the fish and wildlife habitat and from damaging the lake facilities.
Over Memorial Day weekend Rockport staff also hosted a very successful interpretive program. We offered park visitors a chance to see Northern scorpions glow in the dark Saturday night. I assisted one of the park ranger’s and his wife with the educational program. We took 100 participants on a scorpion walk with black lights to see the amazing critters light up. The participants were shocked to know that we even had scorpions that lived at Rockport, let alone find out that they glow in the dark! Rockport has hosted several different interpretive and educational programs in seasons past and we are planning on continuing to do more this summer.
Rockport State Park exemplifies several of the Tread Lightly! principles by enforcing the use of PFD’s, working to prevent the spread of invasive species, offering educational and interpretive experiences to visitors of the park.
Please continue to support Rockport and other Utah State Parks this summer and always remember to Tread Lightly!