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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, August 05, 2011

Profile: Wasatch Mountain State Park

Wasatch Mountain State Park is the most popular state park in Utah, and for good reason. It is a four-season playground in a beautiful mountain setting, not far from Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article describing the park. Below we give the article headline and then excerpts.

Wasatch Mountain: Utah’s most visited state park

Combine rounds of golf played at Soldier Hollow and Wasatch Mountain’s 72 holes of golf, camping, hiking, off-highway vehicle riding, cross country skiing, fishing, picnicking and snowmobiling and the park on the Wasatch back hosts over 360,000 visitors a year.

Its golf courses are recognized locally and nationally as some of the best public facilities in the country.

Though the aging campground’s spots are often too small and lack the needed amenities for modern recreation vehicles and many of its picnic tables and roads look worn out, spots fill quickly during the summer.

A mix of locals and out-of-state tourists flock to the park, generating close to $16 million a year for the local economy.

An emphasis on running state parks more like a business than a public park facility after a January legislative performance audit has changed the way park managers such as (Bruce) Strom look at spending slim resources.

“Trails don’t make money,” he said. “We have to focus on things that make money like golf, camping and new group sites, not putting money into trails. That is not well spent. That is not my job. We had a trail planned from the campground to the clubhouse, but that’s a money pit. Our mission has changed. Instead of providing services the public doesn’t have to pay for, it’s how do I make money? If it’s not revenue attached, we are not going to look at doing that.”


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