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Powell services taking winter off

Even though Lake Powell is 130 feet below "full-pool," it's the lack of visitors that's forcing the closure.
Even though Lake Powell is 130 feet below "full-pool," it's the lack of visitors that's forcing the closure.
Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News

For the first time since Lake Powell was a mere puddle, the lodges and restaurants, lakewide, will close for the winter season.

It was announced late Tuesday that Lake Powell marinas will shift into a seasonal winter schedule,

"We will close down all lodging and restaurants on Nov. 15 and they will remain closed until March 14," said Steve Ward, director of public relations for ARAMARK. "There will be limited service with respect to boat rentals, tours and fuel."

ARAMARK, which owns concessionaire rights to five marinas on the shores of the lake, has been in negotiations for three months with the National Park Service to initiate the closure.

The park service gave its approval last week and since then ARAMARK management has been working through details involved in the closing.

Those individuals with room reservations at the lakeside properties, mainly Wahweap and Bullfrog, will be relocated to Page, Ariz., the city a few miles south of Wahweap.

Those calling the marinas for reservations will be offered room options in Page.

"This is not something that has resulted from the low lake level," Ward said. "We've been experiencing a drop in visitation since 1999. And it didn't happen just at Lake Powell. Other parks, such as the Grand Canyon, have experienced the same slowdown. With lower visitation we've had to reduce staff."

"Last year we did not have the staff to take care of all the tourists and do the season maintenance that was required. This winter we want to renovate three buildings, more than 100 rooms and 60 houseboats. This winter the staff will concentrate on those projects."

When the lake first started to fill, Wahweap would close when temperatures began to cool. At the time it was the only marina on the lake offering restaurant and lodging facilities.

A few years later, however, marinas went to year-round operation and have remained open since.

Uplake, at Bullfrog, the Defiance House Lodge and gift shop, the Bullfrog marina store and the fuel dock at Halls Crossing will close Nov. 1.

Wahweap lodging, the Rainbow Room restaurant and gift shop, and the store at Dangling Roper will close Nov. 15. All will reopen on March 14.

The onshore facilities at Hite will not reopen until May 1.

What will remain open are:

At Bullfrog, the on-water convenience store, service station, fuel dock and trailer units.

At Hite, the campground, trailers and an on-call status for essential groceries and supplies.

At Hite, the pay-at-the-pump fuel station.

At Dangling Rope, the fuel dock.

And at Wahweap, the boat tours, campgrounds, limited boat rentals, the marina store and fuel.

"Like most national parks, Lake Powell is considered a seasonal destination by most visitors," according to Dale McFarland, district manager, Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas. "Our guests will be best served if we use the winter months to prepare for the peak season. We look forward to providing our guests with a full array of services again this spring."

Currently, the lake level is down about 130 feet from "full-pool."

Boat owners are being told they can launch at Wahweap and Bullfrog ramps at their own risk, and that the best ramp is at Halls Crossing. The public ramps at Antelope Point and the Stateline are closed.

For more information about the winter 2004-05 seasonal schedule, log on to www.lakepowell.com or call call 1-800-945-LAKE.


E-mail: grass@desnews.com