Quail Creek State Park will see ‘major changes’ this summer

QUAIL CREEK STATE PARK ─ Quail Creek is getting a facelift this summer.

Candace Smith, manager of Quail Creek State Park, discusses changes coming to the park, Quail Creek State Park, Utah, May 1, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The 33-year-old state park will be undergoing renovations to facilities and infrastructure meant to update one of the state’s older parks while also making it more inviting for visitors, park manager Candace Smith said.

“Quail Creek is going through some major changes,” she said.

Smith took the reins of the park last October and will now get to see it through a new phase of development.

“This is an older park, and there are renovations that need to be done and parts that need to be updated to make positive changes for the community,” she said. “It needed a facelift.”

Standing near the main entrance to the state park, Smith noted that the current entrance will be moved to where the southern boat ramp is located.

Past the entrance is the beach where some work has already been done by park officials, including a general cleanup of the beach and removal of several trees. Remaining trees have been pruned to provide better shade coverage over picnic tables and other spots along the shore.

The small state ranger building that sits at the current entrance to Quail Creek State Park will be relocated to the southern ramp area as a part of a large renovation at the park, Utah, May 1, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Beyond the beach is Quail Creek reservoir, which covers a surface area of 680 acres and has a storage capacity of 40,000 acre-feet of water. The reservoir was dedicated in 1985, with the state park opening the following year.

Where the main entrance currently sits, the visitors turn onto a steep hill leading down to the small state ranger building where they pay to enter; however, Smith said the entry area is rather tight for large motor homes and trucks pulling boats behind them, which poses an issue when making turns.

Moving the main entrance to the southern ramp location will provide an area that’s more level by comparison and has more space to accommodate the motor homes and trucks hauling boats.

The new entrance will also be closer to the camping area.

Additional upgrades include expanding parking, repaving the roads and parking area, getting new picnic tables, and creating more areas for people to visit and relax while at the reservoir.

“We hope you enjoy the park and enjoy the new things we’ll have for you,” Smith said.

The shoreline at Quail Creek State Park, Utah, May 1, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The renovation work is anticipated to carry through June but could continue throughout the summer, she added. Additional changes to the park are also in the works.

Smith said she wasn’t at liberty to discuss the cost of the renovation.

The major work in the park isn’t expected to affect access from 5400 West, the road that connects Quail Creek to state Route 9.

Quail Creek State Park drew nearly 80,000 visitors between July 2018 and March 2019, according to data from Utah State Parks.

While not as popular as nearby Sand Hollow State Park, which drew over 426,000 visitors during the same period, Quail Creek has nonetheless played a vital role in Washington County’s development and is considered a linchpin in the county’s water system. Both state parks get their water from the Virgin River.

“It’s a tremendous asset to the county,” Ron Thompson, general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, said in a 2015 interview marking the 30th anniversary of Quail Creek’s completion.

Read more: Quail Creek reservoir credited with supporting 30 years of growth

Thompson has repeatedly credited the reservoir with providing the foundation needed for the county’s future growth and development. The estimated value of the water provided is $30 million, according to an economic impact report from the water district.

A majority of the county’s drinking water also comes out of Quail Creek once it passes through the treatment plant located just southwest of the reservoir. At peak use, it provides about 40 million gallons of treated water to Washington County’s municipalities daily, for an estimated annual total of 6.5 billion gallons.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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