At this point, the area resembles some other state parks now in use - more dirt than vegetation and not developed to its full potential.
But State Parks and Recreation officials say they won't go halfway on this project. With earth movers groaning and carving up the shoreline in the background, state officials committed to news media touring the area this week that Jordanelle State Park will be the park system's top attraction."The Hailstone recreation area will be the most intensely developed recreation facility in the state," said park manager Steve Carpenter.
Hailstone is one of three recreation sites on a reservoir that is being billed as the crown jewel of not just the Wasatch Front's water supply system, but of the state park system, too.
For $21 million in federal funding, boaters, campers, sailors, anglers and hikers will have nothing like it in the area, Carpenter said.
Take Hailstone, which has consumed the lion's share of the current $17.8 million construction budget, boasting the only dock dedicated to jet skis, a restaurant, shops, beach house, toddler playgrounds, visitor center, amphitheater, 76-slip marina and 230 camp-sites.
The ground contours and landscaping will naturally shield campgrounds from the dock areas. And overnight facilities include the largest RV grounds - hookups for 100 vehicles - in the state park system.
Hailstone will be open year-round with cross-country skiing and ice fishing in the winter months.
"This is what the public wants," Carpenter declared.
If not, Hailstone would become one of the state's largest white elephants, in the unlikely event that few people would use it.
Carpenter estimated the park's annual operating costs at more than $400,000, with at least 80 percent of that covered in fees charged to campers and boaters.
But those fees won't roll in at Hailstone until spring 1995, when the area will open to the public. At that time the reservoir will be a year away from its maximum 250-foot depth and more than 3,068 surface acres of water to play on.
Rangers expect to separate the waters into three areas: high-speed boating, sailing, and canoeing and fishing.
Development of Ross Creek, where sailing and wind surfing will be accommodated, had been a low priority because no one expected the lake to reach that end of the reservoir until 1998. But if the drought has ended and Utah is into a genuine wet cycle, water could be lapping the shores of Ross Creek in two years.
In that case, final design of the area would be speeded up and the state would request the remaining $3.2 million in federal money from the Bureau of Reclamation.
The Rock Cliff area, restricted to canoeing and fishing, is scheduled to open next spring. Though a smaller campground, it will also provide features not found in other state parks.
Among them are accommodations for disabled campers. Carpenter said five of the campgrounds will have elevated tent pads making it easier for people in wheel chairs to set up camp. Cooking grills will also be easier to handle.
The Rock Cliff area will be dedicated to tent campers, who must park their vehicles in a lot several hundred yards away and walk over foot bridges and boarded walkways to one of 50 camp sites.
But the focal point of Rock Cliff won't be camping. More than $100,000 has been spent on displays interpreting surrounding plants and wildlife and the area is designed around a large "nature center" building.
"This will be educationally oriented like the Fremont Indian Village," Carpenter said, referring to the only other fully developed state park in Utah.