ST. GEORGE — Water levels at Lake Powell are rising, and the National Park Service is warning visitors to be aware while boating or recreating near the shore.
Higher lake levels are due to last winter’s significant upstream snowpack melts. Water levels are now rising six to 15 inches in a 24-hour period.
On a positive note, as a result of these levels, the main launch ramp at Bullfrog has sufficient water to cover the old cofferdam and is no longer “at your own risk,” and the Antelope Point Marina launch ramp is expected to be open after park service staff install and adjust marine infrastructure to provide for boater safety and access.
However, rising levels mean visitors need to be aware of their property and keep it a safe distance from the rising shoreline. In a press release, NPS recommends that vehicles should be parked 200 to 300 yards away from the water’s edge, depending on how long the the owner is on the lake, so they will not become submerged and potentially towed. Depending on the grade of land, a foot of water rising vertically will cover approximately 30 to 50 feet of land horizontally.
Additionally, boaters need to be aware of rising water levels overnight that will cause float toys and other objects left too close to shore to float away. Houseboat users will have to check and possibly reset their anchors each day to pull slack lines tight.
Additionally, inflow is carrying debris, and boaters should be aware of pieces of branches that could be as large as full trees floating in the lake. This debris could damage lower units when struck. Uplake, there have been large, dead cottonwood trees floating downstream from Trachyte Canyon, Ticaboo Canyon and Good Hope Bay. These debris fields will continue downstream.
Parents should watch children around water and have them wear life jackets. Laws against drinking and driving also apply to boating. It is recommended to have at least one sober person in each party to ensure safety.
Water levels are significantly different than past seasons, so commonly known boating paths and saved GPS routes may not be safe with current lake levels.