New: Fire Lake Park opens at Ivins Reservoir

IVINS – The new Fire Lake Park at Ivins Reservoir was officially opened to the public through an inaugural ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by officials and residents Thursday afternoon.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday for Fire Lake Park, which is now open at Ivins Reservoir, Ivins, Utah, May 26, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday for Fire Lake Park, which is now open at Ivins Reservoir, Ivins, Utah, May 26, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

A levee now separates the reservoir, located on west old Highway 91 and Crescent Moon Trail, from a new 4-acre swimming lagoon which is continually fed with fresh water. Tons of sand have been brought in, creating a beach and swimming area.

Ivins Reservoir is the oldest reservoir in the county. It was started in 1909 and finished in 1918 for irrigation storage and has been in use ever since, Ivins Mayor Chris Hart said.

“The problem with an irrigation reservoir is that as the summer goes on, all the water goes away,” Hart said. “So as far as being able to use it year-round, it’s pretty tough to do.”

Conceptual design plan for Fire Lake Park at Ivins Reservoir | Image courtesy of Ivins City | Click on image to enlarge
Conceptual design plan for Fire Lake Park at Ivins Reservoir | Image courtesy of Ivins City | Click on image to enlarge

The problem was finally solved by creating a separate swimming area which will be continually filled with water transported through a newly built pipe from Gunlock Reservoir, keeping the swimming water fresh.

Water will flow over a spillway in the levee into the rest of Ivins Reservoir, keeping both recreationists and irrigation water users happy.

In addition, it will preserve the wildlife habitat that exists on the edges of the reservoir, Kayenta developer Terry Marten said. The reservoir has long been a favorite of bird-watchers, who take advantage of a trail that follows the water’s edge.

“My concept for the reservoir has always been to leave this – the majority of the reservoir – in as natural a state as possible,” Marten said, “as in a natural park … because of the migration of the wildlife, local birds and so forth that are here at the reservoir. It’s important to keep that space as natural as possible.”

The new swimming area will be much cleaner, healthier and safer than the reservoir has been in the past, Marten said.

The idea to improve the recreational use of Ivins Reservoir has been in the works for several years but languished until Hart came up with the idea for a levee.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday for Fire Lake Park, which is now open at Ivins Reservoir, Ivins, Utah, May 26, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday for Fire Lake Park, which is now open at Ivins Reservoir, Ivins, Utah, May 26, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

The park is a collaborative effort between Ivins City, the Washington County Water Conservancy District, the Shivwits Band of Paiutes, Washington County, two irrigation companies and Marten, who provided land for a parking area well away from the water’s edge.

Part of the park lies within the borders of the Shivwits Reservation for the Shivwits Band of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, and the band retains the rights to build a concession to rent canoes and paddleboats.

Glenn Rogers, a member of the Shivwits Band of Paiutes Council, said he and his friends all learned to swim at the reservoir. The name “Fire Lake” came from the Shivwits name for the reservoir.

Future plans for the park include the construction of a large pavilion, picnic areas, shade trees and paved parking.

The levee creating the new swimming area was built in 2015 by the water district, and the new water line from Gunlock was finished in April.

Ivins City regraded the area surrounding Fire Lake Park, removing vegetation and importing 7,000 cubic yards of sand to prepare the beach and taking out 12,000 cubic yards of the native soils. The Shivwits Band donated a majority of the sandy material that was imported for the beach.

High-quality temporary restrooms are available at the park and will be used until funding is secured to build permanent restrooms.

Several old Western movies used the stunning location for filming outdoor scenes and many of the community’s native residents have fond memories of the reservoir.

The park will be maintained by Ivins City, Hart said, and patrolled by the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department.

Neighboring residents were concerned about the possibility of fires and fireworks and other public nuisances.

“We intend to enforce the rules here,” Hart said.

Dogs are not allowed on the beach and are legal in the park only if on leashes.

“We understand that the (Southwest Utah Public) Health Department is serious about seeing to it that this water is kept at a level of purity where it’s safe for people to swim,” Hart said.

“The quickest and surest thing that will shut us down is if we allow dogs on that beach, and so we’re not allowing them.”

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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9 Comments

  • Billy Madison May 26, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    I didn’t see any mention of a fee, surely there will be a guard shack built to extract a fee from those who go here.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic May 27, 2016 at 9:10 am

      This is a city park, there is no fee, Billy M. 🙂
      ST. GEORGE NEWS
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • .... May 27, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Another place for drug addicts to trash out and leave all their contaminated paraphernalia behind. and a good place to throw beer bottles and booze bottles and broken glass and condoms.
    and another place for people to dump their household used furniture in the middle of the night
    LOL! Real ( get a ) Life should be in shortly and say it’s me who’s doing it !!!

    • Real Life May 27, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Look out, Dumpster’s off his meds again!

      • .... May 28, 2016 at 10:37 am

        It does take much to get Real get a Life going. He’s off his meds again

        • Real Life May 29, 2016 at 8:58 am

          Wow, you are clever. Is that the meds talking?

  • Shane May 27, 2016 at 10:03 am

    If you can imagine it, I’ve seen it on the ground or in the reservoir at this location…so on the one hand, this upgrade is progress, but if litter, dumping, and drug use here aren’t curtailed, it will actually be a more dangerous place for my grandchildren.

  • hiker75 May 27, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    What a great name for the park! There has already been one unattended fire in that area a couple of weeks ago. It will be interesting to see how many more there will be and how many fires get close to Kayenta homes. If you see fires at the park, call 911.

  • Michael May 28, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I can’t believe they got rid of the dock that used to be out there! I am even more surprised they replaced it with a walkway and not a round about.

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